India's Reliance in talks to buy Tata Play stake from Disney - Business Standard


Adds details, background throughout

BENGALURU, Feb 15 (Reuters) - India's Reliance Industries RELI.NS is in talks to buy Disney's <DIS.N> stake in satellite TV providerTata Play, the Business Standard newspaperreportedon Thursday, as billionaire Mukesh Ambani's firm seeks to bolster its media presence.

The oil-to-telecom conglomerate is looking to buy Walt Disney's 29.8% stake in the loss-making Tata Play as it seeks to offer its entire JioCinema content to Tata's customers, the newspaper reported, citing sources aware of the development.

Bankers are currently valuing Disney's stake in Tata Play, which also offers access to video streaming services, the report added.

If the negotiations are successful, it would be the first collaboration between the Tata Group and Reliance.

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 swung to a loss of 1.05 billion rupees (about $13 million) in fiscal 2023, compared with a profit of 686 million rupees. Its revenues fell 5% during the same period.

The Temasek-backed company had confidentially filed for a $300 million IPO more than a year ago, Economic Times reported.

Reliance and Disney did not immediately respond to Reuters' request for comments, while a spokesperson for Tata Play declined to respond.

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.

Bodhi Tree, a joint venture between James Murdoch and former top Disney executive, Uday Shankar, is also set to buy a stake of around 9% in the newly merged entity. Disney will hold around 40%.

Tata Sons owns a majority stake of 50.2% in Tata Play. Singapore's Temasek holds about 20%, while Disney owns the rest.

($1 = 83.0000 Indian rupees)

(Reporting by Navamya Ganesh Acharya and Nandan Mandayam in Bengaluru; Editing by Mrigank Dhaniwala, Dhanya Ann Thoppil and Sohini Goswami)

((Navamya.GaneshAcharya@thomsonreuters.com; +91 8805175330 ;))

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


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