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Reliance, Walt Disney announce merger, Nita Ambani to head enterprise

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HT Digital,

Mumbai, Feb 28: Reliance Industries Limited and Walt Disney Company have inked a binding agreement to consolidate their media operations in India, paving way for a media and entertainment giant worth $8.5 billion (Rs 70,352 crore), which is unmatched in the industry.

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Nita Ambani, Mukesh Ambani’s spouse, will chair the merged entity, while Uday Shankar will be the vice chairperson, as per a joint statement from the companies.

The agreement also stipulates the merger of Viacom18’s media division into Star India Private Limited via a court-sanctioned arrangement, thereby amalgamating the operations of Viacom18 and Star India.

The merger of Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) with Viacom18 and Disney has been completed. Post-merger, RIL will predominantly control the joint venture (JV), with a 46.82 per cent stake, while Viacom18 and Disney will hold 36.84 per cent.

This arrangement translates to Reliance and its affiliates collectively holding over 60 per cent stake in the company, giving them majority control.

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Reliance has committed an investment of Rs 11,500 crore in the JV. In addition to this, Disney may also infuse certain additional media assets into the JV, subject to regulatory and third-party approvals.

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