Reliance And Disney Confirm Merger of Media Business in India

Reliance And Disney Announce A Merger Everything You Need To Know
In Short
  • Reliance India has signed a joint venture agreement with Disney to bring together their media business in India.
  • The total value of this merger is $8.5 billion, with Reliance Industries owning 16.3%, Disney 36.8%, and Viacom 18 a majority share of 46.8%.
  • Mr. Uday Shankar will act as the strategic advisor and the vice chairman, whereas Mrs. Nita Ambani will be the Chairman of the joint venture.

Putting an end to the barrage of reports, Mr. Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries and Walt Disney have merged their media business in India. In a deal worth $8.5 billion, Reliance’s Viacom18 and Disney’s Star India will combine their “respective digital streaming and television assets in India,” as per the official press release.

According to the release, Reliance Industries will own 16.3% of the total value, Disney 36.8%, and Viacom 18 will have a majority share of 46.8% in the joint venture.

Mr. Uday Shankar, the former chairman of Disney India will be the strategic advisor and the vice chairman of the joint venture. A total investment of $1.4 billion will be made by Reliance into the joint venture in India. Furthermore, Mrs. Nita Ambani will act as the chairman of the merged venture.

Commenting on the Viacom18-Star India merger, Mr. Mukesh D Ambani, Chairman & 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.

In addition, Walt Disney CEO Bob Iger also shared an official comment on the merger, “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.

This venture will bring together streamable content available on Disney platforms along with more than 100 TV Channels. This huge merger has the potential to totally reform the entertainment and media business and might even create a monopoly over this market in India.

This new venture aims to generate high-quality content and make it available to people anytime and anywhere at reasonable prices. By combining their catalogs and technology, the combined entity has plans to offer diverse movies, shows, and sports streaming services.

This collaboration will most probably improve the overall experience of watching content in India while also making all forms of content, including TV (Colors, StarPlus, StarGOLD), streaming (Jio Cinema, Hotstar), and Sports (Star Sports, Sports18), available to every corner of the country.

With Disney’s popular content in the mix, the goal is to create an affordable and exciting digital entertainment experience for everyone. The combined unit will reach over 750 million viewers across India, according to the company.

As of now, the estimated market cap this merger expects to gain is almost 40%, which is indeed a huge percentage. Moreover, the merger is expected to be completed by Q4 2024 or Q1 2025.

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