Reliance and Disney to merge India businesses to form a new $8.5Bn media giant

The Indian media landscape is set for a seismic shift, one that was incoming for some time. Global media behemoth Disney and Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance, have announced a historic agreement to merge their respective media operations in the world’s second-largest internet market. This landmark joint venture has been valued at a staggering $8.5 billion (₹70,352 crore), making it the biggest media venture in the South Asian nation.

The deal is currently subject to regulatory approvals and is expected to finalize in the latter part of the year, or the first quarter of 2025.

The agreement, announced by Disney and Reliance, entails the integration of Reliance’s Viacom18 Media Pvt. Ltd. with Disney’s Star India, effectively combining their vast media assets and resources. Under the terms of the deal, Reliance will hold a majority stake of 46.82%, granting it operational control, while Disney will retain a significant minority stake of 36.84%. Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) will own the remaining stake of 16.34%. RIL will also be pumping in an additional investment of $1.4 billion (₹11,500 crore) in the venture.

The extensive content library of the combined entity, encompassing both regional and international offerings, will thus be made accessible to audiences beyond India. This extensive selection will be seamlessly integrated with the existing library of regional and international entertainment offered by Viacom18, including popular sporting events broadcasted through Star Sports and JioCinema. This vast array of content is expected to reach over 750 million viewers across India and solidify the venture’s position as a dominant force in the market.

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