Reliance Industries is nearing a cash and stock deal to buy Walt Disney’s India operations, according to people familiar with the matter. The US entertainment giant may sell a controlling stake in the Disney Star business - which it values at around $10 billion - as opposed to piecemeal transactions weighed earlier, the people said. The Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance views the assets at between $7 billion to $8 billion.
Under the proposal, Disney will likely continue to hold on to a minority stake in the Indian company after any cash and stock swap transaction is completed. No final decision has been made on the deal or the valuation, and Disney could still decide to hold onto the assets for a bit longer, the people added.
A representative for Disney in India didn’t respond to a request for comment and a spokesperson for Reliance declined to comment. The deal talks are illustrative of Ambani’s disruption of India’s entertainment industry after he scooped up the streaming rights to IPL for $2.7 billion in 2022. The billionaire’s JioCinema platform chose to broadcast the cricket tournament for free earlier this year.
Reliance then scored another win by bagging a multi-year pact to broadcast Warner Bros Discovery’s HBO shows in India, content that was previously with Disney.