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Reliance in Talks to Acquire 30 Percent Stake in Tata Play from Walt Disney

Reliance Eyes Tata Play Stake, Paving the Way for Media Powerhouse

16 February 2024


Kunal Tyagi

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  • Reliance Industries in talks to acquire 29.8% stake in Tata Play from Walt Disney.

  • Potential collaboration could lead to a major restructuring in ownership, with Reliance eyeing a majority stake in the combined entity.

  • Reliance's pursuit aligns with its strategic vision to strengthen its presence in India's lucrative media and entertainment market, valued at $28 billion.

In a strategic move that could reshape India's media industry, Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Industries is reportedly in discussions to acquire a substantial 29.8% stake in Tata Play, a leading satellite TV and streaming service currently under the ownership of Walt Disney. This development, if finalized, signifies Reliance's ambitious foray into television distribution, potentially heralding the emergence of a formidable media conglomerate within the country.

At present, Tata Sons holds the majority stake (50.2%) in Tata Play, with the remainder divided between Disney and Singapore-based investment firm Temasek. However, with talks of a larger merger between Disney and Reliance looming, there's anticipation of a significant restructuring in ownership. Rumors suggest that Reliance might secure a majority stake in the combined entity, with Viacom18 possibly emerging as the largest shareholder.

The news of Reliance's interest in Tata Play coincides with a surge in RIL's share price, reaching an all-time high and propelling the company's market capitalization to nearly ₹20 lakh crore. Amidst this financial momentum, Walt Disney Co. is reportedly planning to divest its entire stake in Tata Play during its proposed initial public offering (IPO), signaling a strategic shift in focus towards its core broadcasting and streaming businesses in India.

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Reliance's potential collaboration with Tata Group holds significant implications for India's media landscape. The synergy between these two industry giants could unlock new opportunities, particularly for Reliance's streaming platform JioCinema, which stands to gain access to Tata Play's extensive customer base. Moreover, given Tata Play's recent financial challenges amidst the rise of OTT platforms, a partnership with Reliance could inject fresh momentum into its operations.

While the specifics of the deal are yet to be disclosed, bankers are reportedly valuing Disney's stake in Tata Play as discussions progress. However, the postponement of Tata Play's IPO has prompted Disney to explore alternative exit strategies from the company. Meanwhile, Reliance's pursuit of Tata Play underscores its strategic vision to consolidate its position in India's lucrative media and entertainment market, which is estimated at $28 billion.

In the broader context, Reliance's ongoing merger discussions with Disney signal a transformative moment in India's media landscape. With the potential creation of one of the largest media entities in the country, fueled by Reliance's extensive resources and Disney's content prowess, the merger could redefine the competitive dynamics in areas ranging from sports streaming rights to original content production. As the negotiations unfold, stakeholders across the industry await further developments with keen interest, anticipating the dawn of a new era in India's media and entertainment sector.

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