Updated February 29th, 2024 at 19:06 IST

Reliance-Disney sign joint venture to forge multi-billion dollar media venture

RIL has agreed to invest at closing Rs 11,500 crore into the JV for its growth strategy.

Reported by: Business Desk
The deal is likely to be completed by February, with Reliance aiming to finish the process by the end of January. | Image:Republic
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Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), Viacom 18 and The Walt Disney Company have signed binding definitive agreements to establish a joint venture (JV). The strategic alliance will amalgamate the operations of Viacom18 and Star India, heralding a new era of content creation and distribution in the country.

Under the terms of the agreement, the media assets of Viacom18 will be integrated into Star India Private Limited (SIPL) through a court-approved scheme of arrangement. Additionally, RIL has committed to inject Rs 11,500 crore into the JV upon closing, signaling a strong commitment to its growth trajectory.

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The transaction values the JV at Rs 70,352 crore on a post-money basis, excluding synergies. Upon completion, RIL will assume control of the JV, owning 16.34 per cent of the venture, while Viacom18 and Disney will hold 46.82 per cent and 36.84 per cent stakes, respectively. Disney may further contribute additional media assets to the JV, pending regulatory and third-party approvals.

Nita Ambani will chair the JV with Uday Shankar, a seasoned industry leader, serving as vice chairperson, offering strategic direction to the enterprise.

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The JV promises to emerge as a dominant force in television and digital streaming landscape, amalgamating iconic media brands such as Colors, Star Plus, Star GOLD, Star Sports, and Sports18. Through platforms like Jio Cinema and Hotstar, the venture is poised to reach over 75 crore viewers domestically and cater to the Indian diaspora worldwide.

With a mission to spearhead the digital transformation of India's media and entertainment sector, the JV aims to deliver high-quality and comprehensive content offerings across various genres. By leveraging the collective expertise and diverse content libraries of Viacom18, Star India, and potentially Disney, the venture seeks to offer innovative and accessible entertainment experiences to consumers at competitive prices.

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“This is a landmark agreement that heralds a new era in the Indian entertainment industry. We have always respected Disney as the best media group globally and are very excited at forming this strategic joint venture that will help us pool our extensive resources, creative prowess, and market insights to deliver unparalleled content at affordable prices to audiences across the nation. We welcome Disney as a key partner of Reliance group,” said Mukesh Ambani, Chairman & Managing Director of Reliance Industries

Bob Iger, CEO of The Walt Disney Company said, “India is the world’s most populous market, and we are excited for the opportunities that this joint venture will provide to create long-term value for the company. Reliance has a deep understanding of the Indian market and consumer, and together we will create one of the country’s leading media companies, allowing us to better serve consumers with a broad portfolio of digital services and entertainment and sports content.”

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Shares of Network 18 ended 3.65 per cent  lower at Rs 112.30 ahead of announcement of the joint venture.

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Published February 28th, 2024 at 19:12 IST