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    Disney reportedly exits Tata Play, sells entire 30% share to Tata Group

    Walt Disney Company has reportedly finalized a deal to offload its minority stake in subscription television broadcaster Tata Play to Tata Group. According to a Bloomberg report, the U.S. entertainment behemoth has sold its 29.8% stake in Tata Play, India’s leading direct-to-home (DTH) provider, to Tata Group for $1 billion. This move allows Disney to focus on its recently announced merger with Reliance Industries’ Viacom18 Media, creating a media giant valued at $8.5 billion.

    Disney’s exit from Tata Play marks the end of a long-standing joint venture. Meanwhile, Tata Group progressively increased its ownership, acquiring 10% stake from Temasek Holdings earlier this year for about $100 million and now fully controlling the platform.

    While Tata Play’s valuation has fallen from its pre-pandemic target of $3 billion, it still remains a crucial asset for Tata Group. Established in 2001 as a joint venture between Tata Group and TFCF Corp. (formerly Twenty-First Century Fox), Tata Play boast a pan-India footprint of 23 million connections and offers both traditional DTH services and over-the-top (OTT) streaming. The company had previously filed for an IPO, but market conditions have delayed those plans.

    The agreement emerges amidst Disney’s overarching objective to concentrate on its joint venture with Reliance Industries Limited and Viacom 18 Media Pvt, a venture spearheaded by billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s media empire. The JV announced in February this year aims to forge an $8.5 billion entertainment powerhouse, poised to captivate a staggering 750 million viewers, effectively asserting dominance in India’s media sector.

    The Indian conglomerate RIL has committed to infusing $ 1.4 billion, while the American Entertainment major will provide content license to the Joint Venture and may further contribute certain additional media assets. The joint entity will be controlled by RIL with an ownership distribution of 16.34% by RIL, 46.82% by Viacom18, and 36.84% by Disney. Nita M. Ambani is slated to head the JV as the Chairperson, with Uday Shankar as Vice Chairperson. This strategic joint venture is anticipated to complete in the last quarter of calendar year 2024 or the first quarter of calendar year 2025.

    Author

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    Monika Asthana

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