Reliance, Walt Disney to merge media assets in India

By Thomson Reuters Feb 28, 2024 | 7:23 AM

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India’s top conglomerate Reliance Industries and Walt Disney on Wednesday announced the merger of their India TV and streaming media assets, creating an entertainment juggernaut far ahead of rivals in the world’s most populous nation.

Reliance, led by Asia’s richest man Mukesh Ambani, will infuse $1.4 billion in the merged entity, with the company and its affiliates holding a more than 63% stake. Disney will hold about 37%, the companies said in a joint statement.

For Disney, the merger follows its long-drawn struggle to arrest a user exodus from its bleeding India streaming business and financial strain caused by billions of dollars in India cricket rights payments. The merger valued the India business of the Burbank-based entertainment giant at just around a quarter of the $15 billion in 2019, sources have said.

(Reporting by Aditya Kalra in New Delhi; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)