Reliance, Disney Announce Mega Merger; Check Details Of Joint Venture

Mumbai: It’s official: Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), Viacom 18 Media Private Limited and The Walt Disney Company on Wednesday signed an agreement to merge their media businesses in India.

RIL Chairman Mukesh Ambani’s wife Nita Ambani will head the joint venture (JV), while Uday Shankar will serve as Vice-Chairperson, Reliance announced in a stock exchange filing.

The JV will bring together the operations of Viacom18 and Star India, with Viacom18’s media division merging into Star India Private Limited through a court-approved arrangement.

The JV has been valued at Rs 70,352 crore ($8.5 billion).

“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,” said Mukesh.

The official statement said the deal, which is subject to customary approvals such as from the shareholder and regulatory authorities, is likely to be completed in the “last quarter of CY 2024 or first quarter of CY 2025.”

The new entity is expected to emerge as a prominent television and digital streaming platform for entertainment and sports content in India.

It will consolidate media assets from Colors, StarPlus, Star Gold, Star Sports and Sports18.

The collaboration will also offer access to content through television and digital platforms, including JioCinema and Hotstar.

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