Reliance and Disney on Wednesday announced a strategic joint venture that will bring together their digital streaming and television assets in India. The merger will see Reliance’s Viacom18 and Star India businesses combined into a single entity called Star India Private Limited (SIPL) through a court-approved scheme of arrangement. Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) will control 16.34% of the joint venture, while the other two parties, Viacom18 and Disney, will control 46.82% and 36.84% respectively.

Reliance has also agreed to invest Rs. 11,500 crore in the venture, which will be used to define its growth strategy. Stakeholders have said the deal values ​​the joint venture at Rs. 70,352 crores on a post-money basis. The new business unit will be chaired by Nita Ambani, while Uday Shankar, the co-founder of Bodhi Tree Systems, will hold the position of vice-chairman and offer strategic advice. This merger is also expected to bring together two of India’s leading digital streaming platforms — JioCinema and Disney+ Hotstar.

Disney will license content to the joint venture and bring its large catalog of movies and shows to the platform. Additionally, the company will also grant exclusive rights to distribute Disney films and productions in India, with a license to more than 30,000 Disney content assets. In addition, the Hollywood giant may also bring additional media assets into the joint venture, but these are subject to regulatory and third-party approvals.

Viacom18 and Star India will offer their domestic and global catalogs as well as live sports streaming services to the joint venture. In the press release, Reliance said the venture will aim to lead the digital transformation of India’s media and entertainment industry and offer high-quality and comprehensive content.

Calling it a “remarkable agreement”, Mukesh Ambani, chairman and managing director of Reliance Industries, said: “We have always respected Disney as the best media group globally and we are very excited to create this strategic joint venture that will help us to bring together our extensive resources, creative power and market insights to deliver unparalleled content at affordable prices to audiences across the country.” The deal, which is currently subject to regulatory and other approvals, is expected to close by the end of this year or by the first quarter of 2025.

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