Disney said near multibillion-dollar deal with Reliance

Reliance Industriescontrolled by Asia’s richest tycoon Mukesh Ambani, is approaching a cash and stock deal to buy Walt Disney‘s India operations, according to people familiar with the matter.

The US entertainment giant may sell a controlling stake in the Disney Star business, which it values ​​at around $10 billion (nearly Rs. 83,100 crore), as opposed to piecemeal transactions weighed in the past, the people said, asking not to be named , because the discussions are private. Reliance sees the assets at between $7 billion (nearly Rs. 58,150 crore) to $8 billion (nearly Rs. 66,470 crore), some of the people said.

The acquisition could be announced as early as next month with some of Reliance’s media units merged in Disney starthe people said, without providing further details.

Under the proposal, Disney is likely to continue to hold a minority stake in the Indian company after any cash and stock exchange transaction is completed, the people said. No final decision has been made on the deal or valuation, and Disney could still decide to hold on to the assets a little longer, they added.

Reliance is “evaluating various options on an ongoing basis” and will provide necessary information as needed, a company spokesperson said in an emailed response. A representative for Disney in India did not respond to a request for comment.

The deal talks are illustrative of Ambani’s disruption of India’s entertainment industry after he acquired the streaming rights to the Indian Premier League in 2022 for $2.7 billion (nearly Rs. 22,430 crore). JioCinema the platform then chose to broadcast the hugely popular domestic cricket tournament for free earlier this year.

Reliance then scored another victory by entering into a multi-year pact to broadcast Warner Bros. Discovery‘s HBO shows in India, content previously with Disney.

Although Disney Star struggled with sliding subscriber numbers, the media group has not given up on the market and has made investments. It has been weighing other options for the company, including an outright sale or the creation of a joint venture, Bloomberg News reported in July.

Still, Disney’s India streaming platform succeeded to draw a record 43 million viewers on Sunday for the men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 match between India and New Zealand, the company said in a statement. That was higher than the 35 million viewers that the much-anticipated match between India and Pakistan drew earlier this month.

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