Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance, Disney announce strategic JV; RIL puts in Rs 11,500 Cr

New Delhi, Feb 28 (UNI) Mukesh Ambani owned Reliance Industries and Viacom 18 Media on Wednesday announced an agreement to form a joint venture.

The Walt Disney Company to combine the businesses of Viacom 18 and Star India, a joint venture is valued at Rs 70,352 crore.

RIL, Viacom18 and The Walt Disney Company (Disney) today announced the signing of binding definitive agreements to form a joint venture that will combine the businesses of Viacom18 and Star India. As part of the transaction, the media undertaking of Viacom18 will be merged into Star India Private Limited through a court approved scheme of arrangement.

In addition, RIL has agreed to invest at closing ₹11,500 crore (approximately USD 1.4 billion) into the JV for its growth strategy. The transaction values the JV at ₹70,352 crore (approximately USD 8.5 billion) on a post-money basis, excluding synergies, a joint press release stated.

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.”

Commenting on the development, 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,” he added.

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

The Walt Disney Company, together with its subsidiaries and affiliates, is a leading diversified international entertainment and media enterprise that includes three core business segments – Entertainment, Sports and Experiences. Disney is a Dow 30 company and had annual revenues of USD 88.89 billion in its Fiscal Year 2023.

Post completion of the above steps, the JV will be controlled by RIL and owned 16.34 per cent by RIL, 46.82 per cent by Viacom18 and 36.84 per cent by Disney.

Disney may also contribute certain additional media assets to the JV, subject to regulatory and third-party approvals. 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 seek to lead the digital transformation of the media and entertainment industry in India and offer consumers high-quality and comprehensive content offerings anytime and anywhere.

The combination of the media expertise, cutting-edge technology and diverse content libraries of Viacom18 and Star India will allow the JV to offer more appealing domestic and global entertainment content and sports livestreaming services, while delivering an innovative and convenient digital entertainment experience at affordable prices.

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.

Mr. 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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