Reliance

Reliance Ventures Boldly: Nearing Acquisition of 30% Stake in Tata Play from Walt Disney

Reliance Industries is making strategic moves in the media and entertainment sector,

Reportedly in talks to acquire a significant 30 percent stake in Tata Play from Walt Disney, just weeks before finalizing its much-anticipated mega-merger.

According to reports from the Business Standard newspaper, Reliance Industries is eyeing approximately 29.8 percent of Tata Play’s stake, currently held by Disney. If successful, this potential collaboration would mark the first joint venture between the Tata Group and Mukesh Ambani’s conglomerate, offering promising prospects for both parties.

The collaboration holds the potential to revolutionize the landscape of streaming services, particularly benefiting JioCinema, a platform under it, which could provide its entire array of streaming content to Tata Play customers, as per the report.

Reliance
Reliance

At present, Tata Sons maintains a majority stake of 50.2 percent in Tata Play, while Disney holds about 30 percent ownership in the firm, with the remainder owned by Temasek, a Singapore-based fund.

Initially, Disney had intended to divest its shares in Tata Play during the DTH firm’s IPO; however, the IPO’s postponement has led Disney to explore alternative exit options. Bankers are currently assessing the valuation of Disney’s stake in Tata Play, which also encompasses access to video streaming services.

While no official comments have been issued by Reliance, Tata Play, or Disney regarding these negotiations, the potential acquisition aligns with its broader strategy to bolster its presence in India’s burgeoning $28-billion media and entertainment market. With a portfolio comprising multiple TV channels and the JioCinema streaming app, operated through its media unit Viacom18, it seeks to fortify its foothold in the rapidly evolving digital entertainment landscape.

Meanwhile, Tata Play has faced challenges in maintaining its DTH services amidst the proliferation of OTT platforms, experiencing a notable setback with reported losses of ₹105 crore (approximately $13 million) in fiscal 2023, compared to a profit of ₹68.6 crore in previous periods. Furthermore, its revenue witnessed a 5% decline during the same timeframe.

Reliance
Reliance

Although Tata Play had initially filed for a ₹2,490 crore IPO in 2023, the listing had to be deferred, as highlighted by reports from The Economic Times.

In parallel, Reliance is nearing the completion of its merger with Disney in the Indian media sector, wherein it is poised to acquire a controlling stake of 51%-54%. This transformative deal, valuing Disney’s Indian operations at $3.5 billion, positions Reliance as one of the foremost players in India’s media landscape, with a market capitalization nearing ₹20 lakh crore.

Anticipated to conclude by the end of February, the merger between Reliance and Disney would usher in one of the largest media entities in India, with far-reaching implications, including potentially securing exclusive cricket rights for all formats, thereby reshaping the dynamics of sports streaming rights in the country.

The impending merger between Reliance and Disney holds profound implications not only for the media and entertainment industry but also for the broader Indian economy. With Reliance poised to become a dominant force in the media landscape, the merger signals a significant shift in the dynamics of content creation, distribution, and consumption.

Reliance
Reliance

By integrating Disney’s extensive portfolio of content with Reliance’s robust infrastructure and technological capabilities, the merged entity stands to offer unparalleled entertainment experiences to consumers across India. This synergy could redefine the way Indians access and engage with entertainment, fueling innovation and driving growth in the digital ecosystem.

Moreover, the merger has the potential to reshape the competitive landscape in the sports streaming arena. With Reliance eyeing exclusive cricket rights for all formats, the merged entity could emerge as the undisputed leader in sports broadcasting, capturing the imagination of millions of cricket enthusiasts and solidifying its position as a powerhouse in the media domain.

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