Reliance Industries, Viacom18, Disney Announce Joint Venture to Revolutionise Indian Media Landscape

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Reliance Industries, Viacom18, Disney Announce Joint Venture to Revolutionise Indian Media Landscape

| Updated: February 28, 2024 21:06

Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), Viacom 18 Media Private Limited (Viacom18), and The Walt Disney Company (Disney) have announced the signing of binding definitive agreements to form a joint venture (JV). This JV will merge the businesses of Viacom18 and Star India, with the media undertaking of Viacom18 being integrated into Star India Private Limited (SIPL) through a court-approved scheme of arrangement.

RIL has committed to investing ₹11,500 crore (~US$ 1.4 billion) into the JV to fuel its growth strategy. The JV is valued at ₹70,352 crore (~US$ 8.5 billion) on a post-money basis, excluding synergies. Upon completion, the JV will be controlled by RIL, with ownership stakes of 16.34% by RIL, 46.82% by Viacom18, and 36.84% by Disney.

Disney may also contribute additional media assets to the JV, subject to regulatory and third-party approvals. Nita M. Ambani will serve as the Chairperson of the JV, with Uday Shankar acting as Vice Chairperson, providing strategic guidance.

The JV aims to become a leading TV and digital streaming platform for entertainment and sports content in India. It will bring together iconic media assets across entertainment (e.g., Colors, StarPlus, StarGOLD) and sports (e.g., Star Sports and Sports18), reaching over 750 million viewers across India and catering to the Indian diaspora worldwide.

The JV seeks to lead the digital transformation of India’s media and entertainment industry, offering consumers high-quality and comprehensive content offerings anytime, anywhere. The combined media expertise, cutting-edge technology, and diverse content libraries of Viacom18 and Star India will enable the JV to offer more appealing domestic and global entertainment content and sports live-streaming services. The JV will also distribute Disney films and productions in India, with a license to more than 30,000 Disney content assets, providing a full suite of entertainment options for the Indian consumer.

The transaction is subject to regulatory, shareholder, and other customary approvals and is expected to be completed in the last quarter of Calendar Year 2024 or the first quarter of Calendar Year 2025.

Goldman Sachs is acting as financial and valuation advisor, and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, Khaitan & Co, and Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co are acting as legal counsels to RIL and Viacom18 on the transaction. The Raine Group is acting as lead financial advisor to Disney on the transaction, with Citi acting as a financial advisor. Cleary Gottlieb served as lead outside counsel to Disney, and Covington & Burling and AZB served as legal counsels to Disney on the transaction.

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