<iframe src="https://www.googletagmanager.com/ns.html?id=GTM-P36XLWQ" height="0" width="0" style="display:none;visibility:hidden">

Report: Reliance Industries among suitors for Indian broadcaster Disney Star

Co-owner of rival operator Viacom18 approached as Disney seeks ‘strategic options’.

19 September 2023 Michael Long

Getty Images

  • Disney exploring various options, including outright sale and piecemeal transaction, reports Bloomberg
  • Disney Star lost IPL streaming rights to Reliance-owned Viacom18 last year

The Walt Disney Company has reportedly held preliminary talks to offload its Indian media business Disney Star, with Reliance Industries among the potential suitors.

Bloomberg reports that the US-based entertainment giant is exploring various ‘strategic options’ for the streaming and TV operator, including an outright sale and ‘a piecemeal transaction that may include some combination of its assets including sports rights and regional streaming service Disney+ Hotstar’.

Citing ‘people familiar with the matter’, the report added that Disney approached Reliance about potentially buying a stake in Mumbai-based Disney Star earlier this year after losing out to Viacom18, a joint venture between Paramount Global and Reliance, for streaming rights to the Indian Premier League (IPL).

Reports that Disney was exploring options for Disney Star first emerged in July.

According to Bloomberg, no deal is imminent and while discussions are ongoing, there is no guarantee of a sale. Disney declined to comment on the latest report, while Reliance refused to confirm or deny the talks, saying it “evaluates various opportunities on an ongoing basis”.

Disney Star has seen its subscriber numbers decline since losing the coveted IPL streaming rights, with the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) previously reporting the service could lose eight to 10 million subscribers in the third quarter of fiscal 2023. That is despite retaining domestic TV rights to the IPL in a US$3.02 billion deal running until 2027.

Disney has owned Disney Star since the closure of its US$71 billion acquisition of Star India’s parent company 21st Century Fox in 2019. It merged the streaming service Hotstar with Disney+ in India a year later, forming Disney+ Hotstar.

However, Disney has since scaled back its operations in Asia, having decided to close its remaining six linear TV channels in Southeast Asia, Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea.

1 / 2news articles read

Enjoying SportsPro content? Create your account and get enhanced access to all the latest stories.


Already have an account?