The $8.5 billion Reliance-Disney goliath emerges as a magnate sports content platform

RIL will oversee and own 16.34% of the JV, followed by Viacom18 at 46.82% and Disney at 36.84%.

Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), Viacom18, and The Walt Disney Company confirmed the execution of binding final documents to establish a joint venture (“JV”) combining Viacom18 and Star India‘s businesses.

A court-approved scheme of arrangement would be used to integrate Viacom18’s media business with Star India Private Limited, as part of the transaction.

Furthermore, RIL has committed to funding the JV with a final investment of INR 11,500 crore (US$1.4 billion) as part of its growth strategy.

After eliminating synergies, the transaction values the JV at INR 70,352 crore (US$ 8.5 billion). Following the aforementioned procedures, RIL will oversee and own 16.34% of the JV, followed by Viacom18 at 46.82% and Disney at 36.84%.

Notably, Disney might possibly add a few more media properties to the joint venture, given regulatory and outside permissions.

The JV will be helmed by Mrs Nita M. Ambani, and its vice chair, Mr Uday Shankar, will provide strategic direction.

Mukesh D Ambani, Chairman & Managing Director of Reliance Industries, said, “We have always respected Disney as the best media group globally and are very excited at forming this strategic joint venture that will help us pool our extensive resources, creative prowess, and market insights to deliver unparalleled content at affordable prices to audiences across the nation. We welcome Disney as a key partner of Reliance group.”

Bob Iger, CEO of The Walt Disney Company, said, “India is the world’s most populous market, and we are excited for the opportunities that this joint venture will provide to create long-term value for the company. 

“Reliance has a deep understanding of the Indian market and consumer, and together we will create one of the country’s leading media companies, allowing us to better serve consumers with a broad portfolio of digital services and entertainment and sports content.”

With the combination of iconic media assets from the entertainment and sports industries, such as Colours, StarPlus, StarGOLD, Star Sports, and Sports18, the JV will be one of the most preferred TV and digital streaming platforms for entertainment and sports content. It will also provide access to highly anticipated events on television and digital platforms, such as JioCinema and Hotstar. Following the development, the JV will have to cater to more than 750 million viewers in the country along with the Indian population dispersed across the globe.

  • A landmark coalition that would shift the paradigm of sports broadcasting:

The historic alliance has brought the top-most sports competitions and organizations in one basket – Indian Premier League (IPL), Indian Super League (ISL), Women’s Premier League (WPL), Pro Kabaddi League (PKL), International Cricket Council (ICC), FIFABoard of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), Cricket Australia (CA), Cricket South Africa (CSA), Premier League (PL), LALIGASerie ABig Bash League (BBL), Ligue 1SA20, Major League Cricket (MLC), National Basketball Association (NBA), Badminton World Federation (BWF), MotoGP, and International Hockey Federation (FIH).

From left: Virat Kohli, Erling Haaland, PV Sindhu, Pawan Sehrawat, and Rohit Sharma

Star India’s acquaintance with sports broadcasting along with the technological prowess of JioCinema would pave a path for significant enhancement in delivering sports coverage.

The newly announced JV is a scintillating development in the sports ecosystem, albeit the subscription charges to such a sporting pack may touch the sky, and fans who are only interested in one sport may have to pay for the other sports as well. Nevertheless, the media outlet may take note of this and develop various strategies to appeal to a wide range of sports enthusiasts.

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