Paramount Global sells its stake in Viacom18 to India’s Reliance for $517 million

Paramount Global sells its stake in Viacom18 to India’s Reliance for $517 million

Paramount Global sold its 13% equity stake in Viacom18 Media to Indian conglomerate Reliance Industries for $517 million.

The transaction, as disclosed in an SEC filing, is subject to regulatory approval and the completion of a previously announced joint venture between Reliance, Viacom18, and Star Disney.

Following the closure, Paramount will continue to license its content to Viacom18.

The move gives the Bob Bakish-led, Shari Redstone-owned company, which is battling with heavy debt and streaming losses, a much-needed boost. It is consistent with Paramount’s approach of divesting non-core assets, as seen with publisher Simon & Schuster, mixed martial arts promotion Bellator, real estate, and other enterprises. In February, over 800 people were laid off in the United States. It is still the subject of constant M&A speculation, with David Ellison’s Skydance targeting competing media companies and private equity.

Late last month, Disney and Reliance announced the formation of a joint venture worth around $8.5 billion to combine their respective digital streaming and television holdings in India. Disney, which has had a tumultuous relationship with Star (acquired from 20th Century Fox), will own approximately 37% of the partnership, which combines the companies of Mumbai-based Reliance Industries, Viacom18 Media (which it owns and controls), and Star India. Viacom18’s operations would be integrated with Star India.

Disney will offer content (the joint venture will have exclusive distribution rights to Disney films and productions in India, as well as a license to over 30,000 Disney content assets) and may contribute other media assets, subject to regulatory and third-party permissions.

Nita Ambani will act as the JV’s Chairperson, with Uday Shankar as the Vice Chair, providing strategic assistance.

The JV will bring together assets from the entertainment (Colors, StarPlus, StarGOLD) and sports (Star Sports and Sports18) sectors, as well as events broadcast on television and digital platforms via JioCinema and Hotstar. The joint venture will have over 750 million viewers in India and will also serve the global Indian diaspora.

According to the statement, the joint venture will aim to lead the digital transformation of India’s media and entertainment industries through a “combination of the media expertise, cutting-edge technology and diverse content libraries of Viacom18 and Star India.”


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