Campaign India Team
Feb 01, 2024

Disney reaches agreement to sell 60% in India unit to Viacom18

Expected to close by February-end, the evaluation of the deal is significantly lower than Disney's 2019 acquisition value

Disney reaches agreement to sell 60% in India unit to Viacom18

Viacom18 has reached an agreement to acquire a significant 60% stake in Disney's India enterprise, valued at around INR 33,000 crore (USD 3.9 billion). Last year, the Wall Street Journal disclosed Disney's exploration of strategic avenues for Star in India, including joint ventures or sales. 

Following speculation of Reliance Industries' interest, Viacom18, under Mukesh Ambani's Reliance, has now clinched the deal and signed a memorandum of understanding in late December 2023 to merge its India business with Viacom18. The deal is expected to finalise by February-end.

This agreement sees Disney retaining 40% ownership, while Reliance and Bodhi Tree Systems, a venture by James Murdoch and former Disney India head Uday Shankar, hold 51% and 9%, respectively.  

Viacom18 will set to shell out around USD1.5 billion in cash along with equity for its stake. Disney's India holdings encompass Star India networks, Hotstar streaming, and a stake in Tata Sky.

The deal, slated for February closure, underscores the challenge of navigating India's diverse market of 1.4 billion people. It also reunites the brand with the two executives who built it. Murdoch and Shankar will come together on a venture they nurtured over the years, with Bodhi Tree having invested over $500 million in Viacom18.




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