Reliance and Disney Ink $8.5 bn Deal to Combine Television Business

Reliance Industries (RIL) and Walt Disney have decided to combined their entertainment and media business units forming a joint venture valued at $8.5 billion.
Walt DisneyMukesh Ambani-promoted Reliance Industries will inject $1.4 billion into the combined entity, securing a controlling stake of over 63 percent, while Disney will hold approximately 37 percent. This partnership comes as Disney grapples with challenges in its Indian streaming business, exacerbated by financial strains from hefty investments in Indian cricket rights.

Nita Ambani, the wife of Mukesh Ambani, is set to chair the board of the merged entity, with former Disney executive Uday Shankar appointed as vice chair.

With a portfolio boasting 120 TV channels and two streaming platforms, the merged entity aims to consolidate its position in India’s $28 billion media and entertainment sector. This formidable presence positions Reliance-Disney as a major contender against competitors like Sony, Zee Entertainment, and Netflix.

Meanwhile, the decision of Sony and Zee Entertainment to combine their business did not take off.

The JV will be the leading TV and digital streaming platforms for entertainment and sports content in India, bringing together media assets across entertainment (e.g. Colors, StarPlus, StarGOLD) and sports (e.g. Star Sports and Sports18) including access to events across television and digital platforms through JioCinema and Hotstar. The JV will have over 750 million viewers across India.