Disney and Reliance agree Indian merger deal

Disney studios

Source: Disney

India’s Reliance Industries, Viacom 18 and The Walt Disney Company have struck a definitive deal to combine Viacom18 and Disney’s Star India in a joint venture.

Viacom18 will be merged into Star India Private Limited through a court-approved scheme of arrangement.

Reliance has agreed to invest at closing ₹11,500 crore (US$ 1.4 billion) into the JV to fuel its growth.

The transaction values the JV at ₹70,352 crore (US$8.5 billion), excluding synergies. Post completion the new outfit will be controlled by Reliance with a 16.34% share, with Viacom18 holding 46.82% and Disney 36.84%.

Nita M. Ambani will be the chair of the new company, with Uday Shankar as Vice Chair providing strategic guidance.

The partners said that the venture will be one of the leading TV and digital streaming platforms for entertainment and sports content in India, bringing together iconic media assets across entertainment (Colors, StarPlus, StarGOLD) and sports (Star Sports and Sports18) including access to events across TV and digital platforms through JioCinema and Hotstar. it will have an estimated 750 million viewers across India and will also cater to the Indian diaspora.

The JV will be granted exclusive rights to distribute Disney films and productions in India.

Mukesh D Ambani, Chairman and Managing Director of Reliance Industries, said, “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.”

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.”

Uday Shankar, Co-founder of Bodhi Tree Systems said, “We are privileged to be enhancing our relationship with Reliance to now also include Disney, a global leader in media & entertainment. All of us are committed to delivering exceptional value to our audiences, advertisers, and partners. This joint venture is poised to shape the future of entertainment in India and accelerate the Hon’ble Prime Minister’s vision of making Digital India a global exemplar.”

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