Disney And India’s Reliance Strike Merger Deal

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Bloomberg News reported that Reliance Industries of India has inked a ‘binding pact’ for a merger with Walt Disney’s local division, marking a significant upheaval in India’s multi-billion dollar entertainment sector.

This expected merger is set to create a huge entertainment powerhouse in one of the world’s biggest entertainment markets.

The deal’s announcement coincides with billionaire Mukesh Ambani, chairman of Reliance Industries, preparing to host Disney’s CEO Robert Iger for his son’s wedding in Gujarat, India, from March 1st to March 3rd.

Bloomberg reported that the merger is projected to give Reliance’s media unit and its affiliates a minimum of 61% ownership in the combined company, leaving Disney with the remaining share.

Disney and Reliance have not yet commented on the merger news.

Disney has faced notable challenges since Iger departed from the company, only to return from semi-retirement over a year ago due to the underperformance of his successor. Mukesh Ambani, aged 66, ranks as the world’s 10th-richest individual according to Forbes’ real-time billionaires list.

Ambani has extended invitations to a prominent guest list comprising influential businessmen and politicians to celebrate the wedding festivities of his son, Anant Ambani, to Radhika Merchant, the daughter of an industrialist.

CNBC-TV18, which has Reliance as one of its partial owners, reported that Ambani’s guest list for the wedding includes notable figures such as Meta head Mark Zuckerberg, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, and Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen, alongside leaders from investment and banking sectors, as well as prominent Bollywood and cricket personalities.

Additional attendees include Ivanka Trump, the daughter of the former US president, as well as former Swedish prime minister Carl Bildt, former Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper, and the King of Bhutan.

The planned $10 billion merger between India’s Zee Entertainment and the local branch of Japanese conglomerate Sony was terminated last month. Reports suggest the cancellation stemmed from disagreements regarding the leadership of the merged company.

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