Disney Nearing Multibillion-Dollar India Deal with Reliance
Disney Nearing Multibillion-...
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Disney Nearing Multibillion-Dollar India Deal with Reliance

23 October 2023
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2 min.
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Disney Nearing Multibillion-Dollar India Deal with Reliance

Ambani's Ambition

Reliance Industries Ltd., led by Asia's wealthiest tycoon, Mukesh Ambani, is reportedly in advanced talks for a significant transaction. According to insiders, they are close to finalizing a cash and stock deal to acquire Walt Disney Co.'s India operations.

The acquisition is poised to involve a controlling stake in Disney Star, a business segment valued at approximately $10 billion by Disney. This differs from earlier discussions of piecemeal transactions. However, Reliance sees the assets more conservatively, valuing them in the range of $7 billion to $8 billion, as stated by some sources.

The official announcement of the deal could be imminent, with indications that several of Reliance's media units may merge into Disney Star, although specifics remain undisclosed.

As part of the proposal, Disney is expected to retain a minority stake in the Indian company even after the completion of the cash and stock swap. However, it's crucial to note that no final decision has been reached on the deal or its valuation. Disney might still opt to hold onto these assets for a longer period, according to sources familiar with the matter.

When approached for comments, a representative for Disney in India refrained from providing a statement, while a spokesperson for Reliance declined to comment.

This potential acquisition underscores Mukesh Ambani's substantial influence in India's entertainment industry, following Reliance's acquisition of the Indian Premier League streaming rights for $2.7 billion in 2022. Notably, Reliance's JioCinema platform even broadcasted the immensely popular domestic cricket tournament for free earlier this year. Reliance further expanded its content library by securing a multi-year deal to broadcast HBO shows from Warner Bros Discovery Inc., content previously under Disney's umbrella.

Disney Star faces declining subscribers but still holds a strong presence in the Indian market, considering options like a sale or joint venture, as per Bloomberg News in July.

Nonetheless, Disney's India streaming platform demonstrated its prowess by attracting a record-breaking 43 million viewers for the 2023 men's Cricket World Cup match between India and New Zealand, surpassing the 35 million viewership of the highly anticipated India-Pakistan match earlier this month.

Persons1 and Companies7 in the news

Chairman and MD of the Reliance Industries
1 place
Disney Star
1 place
JioCinema
2 place
HBO
HBO
4 place
Bloomberg L.P.
7 place
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