Reliance, Disney announce mega merger of India media operations

After months of speculation, the mega merger has been officially announced.

Key points to note –

  • Reliance Industries (RIL), Viacom 18 Media Private Ltd, and The Walt Disney Company (Disney) have signed binding definitive agreements to form a joint venture (JV) which will combine the businesses of Viacom18 and Star India.
    • Viacom 18 is majorly (60.37%) owned by RIL group entities and balance by TV18 – 13.54%, Bodhi Tree – 13.08% and Paramount Global – 13.01%.
  • RIL will invest Rs 11,500 cr into the JV for growth. Subject to regulatory and third-party approvals, Disney may also contribute certain additional media assets to the JV.
  • The transaction values the JV at Rs 70,352 crore (~US$ 8.5 bn) on a post-money basis.
  • The JV will be controlled by RIL and owned 16.34% by RIL, 46.82% by Viacom18 and 36.84% by Disney.
  • Mrs. Nita M. Ambani will be the Chairperson of the JV with Mr. Uday Shankar (from Bodhi Tree and the former President of Walt Disney Asia Pacific) as Vice Chairperson providing strategic guidance to the JV.

This merger sets stage for a significant disruption in the Indian media space.

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