Reliance Industries Nears Acquisition of Disney’s Indian Division in a Deal Estimated at $10B

Reliance Industries Nears Acquisition of Disney's Indian Division in a Deal Estimated at $10B
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In a significant move in the entertainment industry, Reliance Industries is reportedly closing in on securing a majority stake in Disney’s Indian branch. As per recent disclosures by Bloomberg News, the acquisition could place the value of Disney’s Indian segment at a whopping $10 billion.

Speculation regarding Disney’s decision to part with its Indian unit has been rife for the past few months. The potential sale or transformation into a joint venture was first hinted at in July, with insiders pointing to Disney’s strategic global realignment and cost-cutting measures.

In the backdrop of these rumors, Disney was known to have been in discussions with prominent Indian tycoons, including Sun TV owner Kalanithi Maran and Gautam Adani. Additionally, private equity behemoth Blackstone was also in the mix. However, the current buzz suggests Reliance is the frontrunner in the acquisition race.

Among the vast portfolio in Disney’s Indian outfit is the prominent streaming service Disney+ Hotstar, known for its exclusive shows like ‘Aarya’ and ‘The Night Manager India.’ This platform, coupled with a comprehensive network business, is a notable asset for any potential buyer.

Observers suggest a formal announcement regarding the deal might be on the horizon, possibly in the coming month. However, there’s always the chance that Disney might reconsider the sale altogether.

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Reliance’s existing streaming entity, JioCinema, achieved notable milestones in the recent past, emerging as a significant contender against Disney+ Hotstar. Through its joint venture, Viacom18, JioCinema has made significant inroads into the streaming market, particularly by securing streaming rights for the immensely popular IPL cricket league and procuring HBO’s premium offerings. Both these assets, previously linked with Hotstar, have been instrumental in bolstering JioCinema’s user base while causing a dip in Hotstar’s numbers.

Worth noting is that Disney’s linear TV services in India might be on shaky grounds. Just as murmurs about Disney’s potential Indian sale gained momentum, Disney’s CEO, Bob Iger, hinted at a shift in their global model, labeling the current structure as “definitely broken.”

At the time of reporting, while Disney opted to remain tight-lipped about the developments, no official statement was procured from Reliance.

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