MUMBAI: Reliance Industries is set to acquire a 51%-54% stake in Disney India in an unprecedented move set to redefine India’s media landscape, advanced talks between the parties have revealed. Delivery is expected in February, and Disney’s home project is worth a staggering $3.5 billion.
This strategic deal will witness a seamless integration of Viacom 18, the media arm of Reliance Industries, with the Disney India media business, and will provide a huge media capability of television channels and major media projects have emerged. But Disney’s India assets, now valued at $4.5 billion, nearly half of their previous valuation of $10 billion, have fallen sharply. Part of the decline can be attributed to Zee Entertainment suddenly pulling out of the deal, which was earlier expected to be worth $1.4 billion.
According to reports, Disney Star is considering legal action against Zee Entertainment for terminating a major sub-licensing deal for international cricket-related TV shows in India The outcome between Disney Star and Zee Entertainment is based on the latter’s strategic licensing agreement, which was announced on August 30, 2022, an agreement in which they disagree on television programming rights for in ICC Men's and Under-19 global events in four years Shadowed, with the possibility of an arbitration hearing or legal action for compensation looming.
Despite the setback with Zee Entertainment, Disney Star has managed to secure exclusive digital streaming rights for all ICC matches from 2024 to 2027. The strategic move is expected to strengthen Disney Star’s position in the digital space , which by itself is the ultimate cricket. A platform to reinforce the promise of showcasing events, Disney Hotstar.
As Reliance Industries, Disney and potential partner Bodhi Tree complete this transformation process, the Indian media industry faces unprecedented change. The merger of these media giants is poised to reshape the industry’s evolution, creating a formidable company that caters to the growth of traditional broadcasting and digital streaming services.