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THE BIZNOB – Global Business & Financial News – A Business Journal – Focus On Business Leaders, Technology – Enterpeneurship – Finance – Economy – Politics & LifestyleTHE BIZNOB – Global Business & Financial News – A Business Journal – Focus On Business Leaders, Technology – Enterpeneurship – Finance – Economy – Politics & Lifestyle

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Disney’s Ambitious $8.5 Billion Merger to Revitalize Struggling Indian Division

Disney's Ambitious $8.5 Billion Merger to Revitalize Struggling India
Disney's Ambitious $8.5 Billion Merger to Revitalize Struggling India

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Disney’s Ambitious $8.5 Billion Merger to Revitalize Struggling India

In a strategic maneuver aimed at navigating the challenges of India’s highly competitive streaming market, Disney is embarking on an $8.5 billion deal to merge its Star India service with Viacom18, supported by Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries. This collaboration, spearheaded by Reliance, is poised to reshape the Indian media landscape, marked by a substantial $1.4 billion investment from Reliance to drive expansion.

Mukesh Ambani, recognized as Asia’s wealthiest individual, lauded the agreement as a “landmark,” signaling a transformative era for the Indian entertainment industry. Pending regulatory approval, the deal is expected to be finalized by the end of this year or early next year, establishing a conglomerate boasting over 120 channels and reaching around 750 million customers nationwide.

Viacom18, a joint venture established in 2007 between Reliance and Paramount, currently oversees approximately 40 channels, including popular ones such as MTV, Nickelodeon, Colors (a Hindi-language channel), and the JioCinema streaming service. This conglomerate has been competing fiercely with Disney’s Star business in India, inherited in 2019 through Disney’s acquisition of Rupert Murdoch’s Fox empire.

Reliance’s triumph over Disney in securing streaming rights for the India Premier League cricket tournament in 2022 dealt a significant blow to Disney’s Hotstar streaming service, resulting in a notable decline in subscribers. Additionally, Star Sports channels, owned by Disney, reported decreases in both subscribers and advertisers in the 12 months leading up to September 2023.

Despite the deal valuing Star India at less than a third of its 2019 valuation, Disney will retain a 37% stake in the joint venture, holding exclusive distribution rights for its films and productions in India. Viacom18 will possess a 47% share, with Reliance holding the remaining 16%.

India has emerged as a crucial battleground for streaming services, witnessing substantial investments from major players like Netflix and Amazon striving to establish a foothold in this rapidly expanding market. The appointment of Nita Ambani, Mukesh Ambani’s wife, as the chairperson of the newly formed company adds a layer of credibility and leadership to this collaborative venture.


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