Updated February 27th, 2024 at 11:40 IST

Reliance and Walt Disney finalise deal to merge media operations: Report

Reliance had previously assessed Disney's India assets, encompassing Disney+ Hotstar streaming service and Star India.

Reported by: Business Desk
Reliance-Disney India operations merger | Image:Disney, Reliance
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Reliance and Disney deal: Reliance Industries, led by Mukesh Ambani, and Walt Disney Co have reportedly sealed a deal to merge their media operations, Viacom18 and Star, in India. Under the agreement, Reliance is set to possess a minimum of 61 per cent stake in the combined entity, with Disney retaining the remaining share.

According to sources cited by Bloomberg, the formal announcement of the merger is anticipated to occur this week. The distribution of ownership between the entities could potentially be subject to adjustments, contingent upon the inclusion of Disney's additional local assets at the deal's closure. Moreover, Reliance is exploring the possibility of acquiring Disney's minority stake in Tata Play, a broadcast service provider.

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This development follows a previous report by the Wall Street Journal, which indicated that Disney had consented to divest 60 per cent of its Indian operations to Viacom18, valuing the transaction at $3.9 billion.

Reliance had previously assessed Disney's India assets, encompassing Disney+ Hotstar streaming service and Star India, at a valuation ranging from $7 billion to $8 billion last year.

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In 2022, Reliance secured the streaming rights for the Indian Premier League (IPL), outbidding Disney, and also struck a multi-year agreement in April to broadcast HBO shows from Warner Bro Discovery Inc.

The Reliance-Disney merger occurred amidst the backdrop of a failed merger between Sony Group and Zee Entertainment Enterprises, which collapsed due to disagreements over the leadership of the combined entity.

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Published February 26th, 2024 at 10:51 IST