Walt Disney has held preliminary talks with potential buyers of its Indian streaming and television businesses, including billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries, according to people familiar with the matter.

The U.S. entertainment giant has discussed a range of options with potential acquirers, from a deal to acquire the entire Disney Stars business to a piecemeal deal that could include parts of a portfolio of assets such as sports rights and regional streaming service Disney+ Hotstar, people familiar with the matter said. .

Bloomberg News reported in July that Disney has been weighing strategic options for the business, including an outright sale or a joint venture, after the Indian subsidiary ceded streaming rights to the Indian Premier League to Paramount Viacom18, a partner of Paramount Global. and trust. A person familiar with the matter said at the time that Disney had approached Reliance about the possibility of acquiring a stake in the business.

Discussions are ongoing and no agreement may be reached, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. Disney may decide to hold on to the assets longer, they added. A Disney representative declined to comment.

A Reliance spokesperson said the company “continues to evaluate opportunities” and will make the necessary disclosures if necessary, but declined to comment further.

Although Disney Star saw a decline in subscriptions after losing the IPL streaming rights, it did not abandon the entire cricket business and acquired the television rights until 2027. Last year, it agreed to license the television rights for the International Cricket Council men’s matches to ZEE Entertainment for four years, with Disney+ Hotstar retaining the digital rights.

Reliance-backed streaming service JioCinema saw a record 32 million simultaneous viewers at the IPL final in May, which was free to watch on the platform. After signing a multi-year deal to broadcast Warner Bros. Discovery Channel’s exclusive content in India, the venture has started charging for some content on the platform.

© 2023 Bloomberg


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