Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance in talks to buy Tata Play’s 30% stake from Walt Disney

Just a few weeks ahead of the finalisation of its mega-merger, Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries is in talks to buy around 30 percent stake in Tata Play, formerly Tata Sky, from its merger partner Walt Disney, reported Business Standard newspaper.

 Reliance Industries Chairman and MD Mukesh Ambani (ANI Photo)(Siddharaj Solanki)
Reliance Industries Chairman and MD Mukesh Ambani (ANI Photo)(Siddharaj Solanki)

Reliance Industries has shown interest in buying around 29.8 percent stake in Tata Play, which is currently held by Disney. If the negotiations are successful, it would be the first collaboration between the Tata Group and billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s conglomerate.

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This collaboration between Tata Group and Mukesh Ambani can lead to a significant boost for JioCinema, potentially offering all of its streaming content for Tata Play customers, the report added.

Currently, Tata Sons holds majority stake of 50.2 percent in Tata Play, while Walt Disney owns about 30 percent of stake in the firm. The rest is owned by Temasek, a Singapore-based fund.

Initially, Disney had planned to divest its shares in Tata Play during the DTH firm’s IPO, but the listing of the company got postponed. As a result, Disney is exploring more options to exit from the company.

Bankers are currently valuing Disney’s stake in Tata Play, which also offers access to video streaming services, the report added. However, no comments by Reliance, Tata Play or Disney have been made in this regard yet.

Reliance, which runs multiple TV channels and JioCinema streaming app through its media unit Viacom18, is looking to strengthen its hold on India’s $28-billion media and entertainment market.

Tata Play has been struggling to keep up with its DTH services as the rise of OTT platforms is eating away its business. Tata Play reported a loss of 105 crore (about $13 million) in fiscal 2023, compared with a profit of 68.6 crore. Its revenue fell 5% during the same period.

The Economic Times had reported that Tata Play filed its papers for a 2,490 crore IPO in 2023, but the listing had to be postponed.

Disney-Reliance merger details

Reliance is close to merging its India media business with Disney with a 51%-54% stake, Reuters reported earlier this month. The deal values the U.S. giant’s Indian operations at $3.5 billion, while Reliance remains the most valued company in India at nearly 20 lakh crore.

It was earlier reported that the merger might be complete by the end of February, creating one of the largest media entities in India. This would also change the sports streaming rights game in India, paving way for Reliance to get the exclusive cricket rights for all formats.

(With inputs from Reuters)

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