afaqs! news bureau

All you need to know about the Reliance-Disney merger

  • Reliance-Disney alliance forms a Rs 70,352 crore media giant with Viacom18's integration into Star India

  • RIL controls the joint venture with 16.34%, Viacom18 at 46.82%, and Disney at 36.84%

  • Nita M. Ambani chairs the JV, with Uday Shankar as vice chairperson, steering strategic guidance

  • The merger integrates entertainment and sports assets, aiming to lead India's digital transformation in media

Reliance Industries and The Walt Disney Company formally sealed a binding agreement on February 28, establishing a formidable media entity valued at Rs 70,352 crore (US $ 8.5 billion).

“As part of the transaction, the media undertaking of Viacom18 will be merged into Star India through a court approved scheme of arrangement,” the companies announced in a joint statement.

Here’s all you need to know about the merger:


Reliance-Disney Merger Ownership Distribution
Reliance-Disney Merger Ownership Distribution
  • The merged entity is valued at Rs 70,352 crore (~US$ 8.5 billion). 

  • The joint venture (JV) will be controlled by RIL and owned 16.34% by RIL, 46.82% by Viacom18 and 36.84% by Disney. 

  • RIL has agreed to invest Rs 11,500 crore (~US$ 1.4 billion) into the JV for its growth strategy. 

  • Disney may also contribute certain additional media assets to the JV.


Nita M. Ambani will be the chairperson of the JV, while Uday Shankar will assume the role of vice chairperson, offering strategic guidance to the JV.

Merging media assets

Reliance-Disney Merger Media Assets
Reliance-Disney Merger Media Assets
  • The JV will amalgamate media assets spanning entertainment (e.g. Colors, StarPlus, StarGOLD) and sports (e.g. Star Sports and Sports18).

  • Access to events will be provided across television and digital platforms through JioCinema and Hotstar.

  • The JV is set to reach over 750 million viewers in India and cater to the Indian diaspora worldwide.

  • Exclusive rights to distribute Disney films and productions in India will be granted, along with a licence to more than 30,000 Disney content assets.

Digital transformation

Digital transformation of the M&E Industry
Digital transformation of the M&E Industry

The JV aims to lead the digital shift in India's media and entertainment industry, providing consumers with high-quality content anytime, anywhere. 

Leveraging the combined expertise, advanced technology, and diverse content libraries of Viacom18 and Star India, the JV will offer appealing domestic and global entertainment content, sports live streaming, and an innovative digital entertainment experience at affordable prices. 

The inclusion of Disney's films and shows will enhance this digital-focused experience for people in India and the global Indian diaspora.


The transaction is expected to be completed in the last quarter of the Calendar Year 2024 or the first quarter of the Calendar Year 2025. 

(With contributions from Benita Chacko, Nisha Qureshi and Shubhankar Sen.)

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