Reliance Industries Limited and Walt Disney Co are expected to sign an agreement as early as Monday, merging their Indian media operations in a cash-and-stock arrangement, according to Bloomberg News on Tuesday.
The deal comes at a time when JioCinema, under the umbrella of Reliance’s broadcast venture Viacom18, has intensified competition for Disney India and other streaming platforms.
Mukesh Ambani, the billionaire at the helm of Reliance, strategically promoted the platform by providing free access to the Indian Premier League cricket tournament, the digital rights of which were previously owned by Disney.
If the merger materialises, Reliance plans to inject funds to secure a controlling stake of at least 51 per cent in the merged entity, while Disney will retain the remaining stake, as per media reports.
Earlier in the day, the Economic Times disclosed that the companies are in the process of finalising the details of a non-binding term sheet to consolidate their media operations in India.
Disney and Reliance have not yet issued any official comments on the media reports.
In October, reports suggested that Reliance was assessing the valuation of Disney’s India assets, including the Disney+ Hotstar streaming service and Star India, within the range of $7 billion to $8 billion.
Meanwhile, Disney had valued the operations at $10 billion during the same period.