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Disney and Reliance start an antitrust investigation regarding their media merger in India: reliance power share.

In the event that Disney and Reliance come to an agreement, it will be the second major change to the television and streaming scene in India after Sony (6758.T) of Japan announced its intention to combine its Indian operations with reliance power share

Disney and Reliance start an antitrust investigation regarding their media merger in India: reliance power share

Disney has enlisted AZB & Partners, while Reliance has named Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas and the Indian law firm Khaitan & Co.

Disney and Reliance partnership (REUTERS)

According to four people with knowledge of the matter, billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s reliance power share (RELI.NS) and Walt Disney (DIS.N) have enlisted legal firms and started antitrust due diligence for their intended merger in the Indian entertainment and media industry.

reliance power share

The sources claim that Disney has hired AZB & Partners, and Reliance has hired Indian law firms Khaitan & Co and Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas.

The appointments made recently indicate that Reliance and Disney’s partnership is progressing. Given that the two companies have substantial streaming services and 120 television channels between them, there is a possibility that they will combine to form a single, entertainment powerhouse in the most populous country in the world. It is expected that the majority of this entity will be owned by Ambani’s group.

Leading Disney executives from Burbank headquarters and senior reliance power share officials from Mumbai met in London towards the end of December, according to a credible source. A non-binding term sheet was signed by them during this meeting to formally commit to the agreement.

Possible antitrust issues surrounding a Reliance-Disney merger are expected to be significant and will be closely watched. Reuters reported that in order to allay concerns about their combined market dominance, the consolidation may require the sale of assets, especially TV channels.

The first steps of the antitrust review process are now under way, according to three people with knowledge of the Reliance-Disney merger’s due diligence procedure.

If Reliance and Disney come to an agreement, it would be the second big change in India’s television and streaming industry after Sony (6758.T) announced that it planned to combine its Indian businesses.

Disney’s operations in India have encountered difficulties due to Ambani’s aggressive rivalry against the American company by providing free streaming of the Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket competition. The Indian IPL digital rights were previously owned by Disney.

Antitrust experts believe that a potential Disney-Reliance merger would be heavily influenced by their control over cricket-related advertising and their scrutiny of the streaming industry. The rights to International Cricket Council matches in India are held by the Disney Hotstar app until 2027, and the rights to the Indian Premier League are held by reliance power share JioCinema app.

Executives from both firms are said to have disagreed in early talks about the valuation, debating whether Disney’s or Reliance’s entertainment division is more valuable, according to Reuters.

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