Disney in talks to sell Indian operations to Reliance Industries in $10bn deal

India’s Reliance Industries is in talks to acquire Disney’s operations in the country in a deal that would value the division at $10bn.

The news was first reported by Bloomberg, which said Reliance is nearing agreement on a sale that would see it acquire a majority stake in Disney’s Indian business that would cost it around $8bn and value the entire operation at $10bn.

Reports in July revealed that Disney is exploring the future of its Indian TV and streaming business, with a sale or the addition of a joint-venture partner among options being considered.

Disney owns the Indian streaming platform Disney+ Hotstar and TV and production outfit Disney Star, inherited from its acquisition of the media assets of 21st Century Fox.

Its Indian streamer, Disney+ Hotstar, has been behind a growing number of originals such as Aarya, Hundred and Out Of Love, which sit alongside its library content.

The Mouse House has been under increasing competitive pressure in India since Reliance-owned Viacom18 deprived it of the rights to Indian Premier League cricket, the biggest sporting tournament in the sub-continent, and decided to make the latter free to view on its JioCinema streaming platform.

Sony Pictures Entertainment were among suitors reportedly in early discussions, although that was as a potential contingency plan if its long-running and nearly completed merger with Zee Entertainment faces further delays. That tie-up now looks likely to complete next month.

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