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regular-article-logo Friday, 14 June 2024

Competition Commission of India to vet merger of Viacom18 and Star India

In February, Reliance Industries and The Walt Disney Company had announced the merger of their operations in India to create a Rs 70,352 crore ($8.5 billion) entity that will straddle TV and digital streaming

Our Special Correspondent Mumbai Published 26.05.24, 11:10 AM
Representational image

Representational image File picture

Reliance Industries has filed an application with the Competition Commission of India (CCI) for the merger of Viacom18 and Star India Pvt Ltd (SIPL), which is wholly owned by The Walt Disney Company (TWDC).

In February, Reliance Industries and TWDC had announced the merger of their operations in India to create a 70,352 crore ($8.5 billion) entity that will straddle TV and digital streaming.

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RIL, Viacom 18 Media and TWDC had then announced the signing of binding definitive agreements to form a joint venture. It will see Reliance and Viacom18 holding a 63.16 per cent stake (16.34 per cent by RIL, 46.82 per cent by Viacom18) with the rest being held by Disney.

The joint venture will combine the businesses of Viacom18 and Star India. RIL had then said that as part of the transaction, the media undertaking of Viacom18 will be merged into SIPL through a court approved scheme of arrangement.

RIL had agreed to invest 11,500 crore into the venture. Nita Ambani will be the chairperson of the JV. Uday Shankar as vice-chairman will provide strategic guidance to the venture.

Viacom18 is a subsidiary of TV18 Broadcast Ltd (TV18), which in turn is a subsidiary of Network18 Media & Investments Ltd (Network18). The latter is controlled by Independent Media Trust, the sole beneficiary of which is RIL.

RIL added that the proposed transaction will not cause any appreciable adverse effect on competition in India.

However, to facilitate the CCI’s assessment, they have identified several key markets where horizontal overlaps were seen such as “provision of audio-visual (AV) content, licensing of AV content rights, distribution of broadcast TV channels, production and supply of films (to third party distributors and exhibitors) for theatrical release in India,and supply of advertising space in India’’.

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