Disney in $8.5 Billion Merger of Star India With Viacom18

February 28, 2024

Cleary Gottlieb is serving as lead outside counsel to The Walt Disney Company (Disney) in the combination of its Star India business with Viacom18 to form a new strategic joint venture with Reliance Industries Limited (RIL).

As part of the transaction, Reliance has agreed to invest approximately $1.4 billion into the JV for its growth strategy. The transaction signed on February 28, 2024, and closing is subject to customary conditions precedent, including regulatory approvals.

The transaction values the JV at approximately $8.5 billion on a post-money basis, excluding synergies. The JV will be controlled by RIL and owned approximately 16% by RIL, 47% by Viacom18, and 37% by Disney.

The JV will be one of the leading TV and digital streaming platforms for entertainment and sports content in India, bringing together iconic media assets across entertainment (e.g., Colors, StarPlus, StarGOLD) and sports (e.g., Star Sports and Sports18), including access to highly anticipated events across television and digital platforms through JioCinema and Hotstar. The JV will have over 750 million viewers across India and will also cater to the Indian diaspora across the world.

The Walt Disney Company is a leading diversified international entertainment and media enterprise that includes three core business segments: entertainment, sports, and experiences. Disney is a Dow 30 company and had annual revenues of $88.89 billion in its fiscal year 2023.

Reliance is India’s largest private sector company, with a consolidated revenue of Rs 9.75 million crore ($118.6 billion), cash profit Rs 1.26 million crore ($15.3 billion), and net profit of Rs 73,670 crore ($9 billion) for the year ended March 31, 2023. Reliance’s activities span hydrocarbon exploration and production, petroleum refining and marketing, petrochemicals, advanced materials and composites, renewables (solar and hydrogen), retail, and digital services.

For more information, please see the press release here.