Home Business Reliance plans to acquire a 13% stake in Viacom18 by purchasing Paramount’s share for Rs 4,286 crore

Reliance plans to acquire a 13% stake in Viacom18 by purchasing Paramount’s share for Rs 4,286 crore

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According to a regulatory filing by Paramount Global, Reliance Industries has agreed to acquire a 13.01% stake in Viacom18 Media for approximately $517 million (₹4,286 crore). Mint was the first to report Paramount’s potential stake sale in Viacom18.

After acquiring a 57.48% stake in Viacom18, a subsidiary of TV18 Broadcast Ltd., Reliance’s ownership will rise to 70.49% post the Paramount deal. Paramount Global will maintain content licensing with Viacom18. Regulatory approvals and the Reliance-Disney merger completion are prerequisites for the deal.

On February 28, Reliance and Disney announced a joint venture in India merging Viacom18 and Star India. Viacom18 would merge with Star India Pvt Ltd under a court-approved scheme, with Reliance investing ₹11,500 crore in the JV. The post-money valuation of the JV stands at ₹70,352 crore.

Reliance will have majority control of the JV with 55-60% ownership, while Disney will hold 36.84% and Bodhi Tree, a venture of Uday Shankar and James Murdoch’s Lupa Systems, will have 6.1%.

Disney’s India assets were valued at ₹25,806 crore, partly due to expected sports-related losses. In contrast, Viacom18, including JioCinema, was valued at ₹33,046 crore in the deal, surprising some observers.

Reliance’s Venture with Viacom18

The chairman of Reliance Industries aimed to build India’s biggest media conglomerate by acquiring Network18 from its former owner, Raghav Bahl, in 2014.

In 2014, Reliance acquired Network18, which included Viacom18. In 2018, Reliance increased its Viacom18 stake by 1% from Paramount Global.

Reliance aimed to expand Viacom18, but merger talks with Sony Pictures Entertainment and later Zee fell through due to disagreements.

After failed negotiations with Zee and Sony, Reliance successfully acquired Star India, the market leader, on February 28. The merger with Viacom18 will create an $8.5 billion media giant.

Merger between Reliance and Disney

In February, Reliance Industries and Walt Disney Co revealed plans for a significant merger, joining forces to create a powerhouse in India’s media landscape valued at Rs 70,000 crore. In this collaboration, Reliance and its affiliates will hold a majority stake of 63.16% in the combined entity, which will encompass two streaming services and 120 television channels.

Meanwhile, Disney will retain the remaining 36.84%. To bolster its competitiveness against competitors like Sony and Netflix, Reliance has pledged to inject Rs 11,500 crore into the joint venture upon completion. This capital infusion aims to solidify the joint venture’s position as a leader in the OTT subscriber base.

Nita Ambani will helm the joint venture forged between Walt Disney and RIL, while Uday Shankar will serve as vice chairperson. Uday Shankar, a former Disney executive, co-owns Bodhi Tree with James Murdoch.

This partnership aims to position the joint venture as a leading destination for television and digital streaming services, offering a diverse range of entertainment and sports content in India. It will consolidate renowned media assets, including popular entertainment channels like Colors, StarPlus, and StarGOLD, along with prominent sports channels such as Star Sports and Sports18.

You might also be interested in – Reliance Consumer collaborates with Sri Lanka’s Elephant House to strengthen competition against Coke & Pepsi

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