Reliance,Disney merger creates $8.5m streaming/TV assets joint venture

Logos courtesy: Disney & Viacom18

Reliance Entertainment’s (RIL) Viacom 18 and Disney’s Star India have merged to form a joint venture (JV)  for streaming and TV assets.  The JV announced in a media release by The Walt Disney Company on February 28, 2024, from Mumbai, Maharashtra, India and Burbank, California, values US$ 8.5 billion (₹70,352 crore) on a post-money basis, excluding synergies. Post completion of the above steps, the JV will be controlled by RIL and owned 16.34% by RIL, 46.82% by Viacom18 and 36.84% by Disney.

Mrs. Nita M. Ambani will be the Chairperson of the JV, with Mr. Uday Shankar as Vice Chairperson providing strategic guidance to the JV.

The JV 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 (e.g. Colors, StarPlus, StarGOLD) and sports (e.g. Star Sports and Sports18) including access to highly anticipated events across television and digital platforms through JioCinema and Hotstar. The JV will have over 750 million viewers across India and will also cater to the Indian diaspora across the world.

The JV will also be granted exclusive rights to distribute Disney films and productions in India, with a license to more than 30,000 Disney content assets, providing a full suite of entertainment options for the Indian consumer.

Speaking about the JV, 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.”

Mr. 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.”

The merger is subject to regulatory, shareholder and other customary approvals and is expected to be completed in the last quarter of  2024 or first quarter of  2025.

By Neeraj Nanda

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