In a major development, Walt Disney and Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) have forged ahead with their plans to merge their media operations in India, according to reports from Business Standard.
The two corporate giants recently signed a non-binding term sheet in London, outlining a proposed stock-and-cash consolidation, with RIL holding the majority stake at 51 per cent and Disney at 49 per cent.
This move, expected to conclude by February, sets the stage for the formation of one of the largest media empires in the country, intensifying competition with major players like Zee Entertainment, Sony, Netflix, and Amazon Prime.
Leading the negotiations were Kevin Mayer, a former Disney executive, and Mukesh Ambani's key advisor, Manoj Modi.
The signing of the term sheet marks a crucial step, initiating the official valuation process and prompting legal advisors to delve into the finer details.
The negotiations may also include an exclusivity period lasting 45-60 days, subject to extension by mutual agreement.
Additionally, Jio Cinema is poised to be an integral part of this comprehensive deal.
For Disney, this collaboration is strategically significant, particularly for its Hotstar streaming app, which has faced financial challenges.
The collaboration is expected to involve a substantial capital investment, estimated between $1-1.5 billion.
The new board resulting from the merger is anticipated to have representation from both Reliance and Disney, with additional considerations for the inclusion of independent directors.
Further developments in this mega media merger are awaited in the coming weeks.
Nayan Dwivedi is Staff Writer at Swarajya.
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