Updated February 28th, 2024 at 15:27 IST

Nita Ambani likely to lead merged Reliance-Disney media business in India

Presently, Nita Ambani serves as the founder and chair of the Reliance Foundation.

Reported by: Business Desk
Reliance-Disney merger | Image:Nita Ambani
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Reliance-Disney media business: Nita Ambani, the wife of billionaire Mukesh Ambani, is expected to assume the chairmanship of the board following the merger of Reliance Industries and Walt Disney's media assets in India, sources told Reuters.

Reliance, under the control of the Ambani family, and Disney are nearing the finalisation of their merger agreement, which has been under negotiation for several months.

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An official announcement is anticipated later today, although plans are subject to change prior to confirmation.

Reliance declined to comment on the matter, while Disney refrained from offering any statement.

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Nita Ambani's potential appointment as chair follows her recent resignation from the board of Reliance Industries to concentrate more on philanthropic endeavours.

Presently, she serves as the founder and chair of the Reliance Foundation. Nita Ambani is the driving force behind the Nita Mukesh Ambani Cultural Centre (NMACC) in Mumbai, which has emerged as a notable venue for music and theatre. She recently stepped down from the board of Reliance Industries to focus more on the foundation.

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With both Reliance and Disney operating streaming services and a combined total of 120 television channels, the merger is set to boost Reliance's dominance in India's rising $28 billion media and entertainment industry.

Earlier reports suggested that Reliance could hold a controlling stake ranging from 51 per cent to 54 per cent in the merged entity, valuing Disney's Indian operations at approximately $3.5 billion—a decline from the estimated $15-$16 billion valuation in 2019.

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Disney's television and streaming business in India has encountered challenges over the years, including user attrition from its digital platform amid fierce competition with Ambani's platform, particularly in the cricket streaming space.

Apart from her philanthropic initiatives and involvement with the foundation, Nita Ambani has been involved in Reliance’s sporting operations with the IPL and ISL.

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Nita Ambani is also the only and first woman from India to be elected as part of the International Olympic Committee.

(With Reuters Inputs)

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Published February 28th, 2024 at 15:27 IST