Disney weighs options for struggling India TV business

Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, Calif., on Feb. 9. MUST CREDIT: Bloomberg photo by Eric Thayer.

Disney is weighing options for its television business in India that include either an outright sale or setting up a joint venture with partners as it faces intensifying competition from local rivals in the world’s most populous nation.

The U.S. entertainment giant is mulling a sale of its stakes in its TV network Disney Star after the Indian unit last year lost its streaming right to the Indian Premier League (IPL) to Viacom18 Media, a joint venture between Paramount Global and Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries, according to people familiar with the matter, who are not authorized to speak publicly as the discussions are private. Disney will likely retain control over their content business in the country, the people said.

Deliberations are still at a preliminary stage and a deal may not happen, the people said. The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday reported that the company is exploring strategic options for Disney Star.

Among the companies that have been approached for a potential stake sale is Ambani’s Reliance, which has also expanded its entertainment content by signing a pact with Warner Bros Discovery in April after beating Disney Star in the bidding war for IPL streaming rights, one of the people said. Reliance declined to comment.

Disney’s plan to consider at least a partial pullout from its India TV business came after Chief Executive Officer Bob Iger expressed his disappointment with the company’s performance in India during his visit to Hong Kong a few weeks ago, the people said. Losing the streaming right to local business tycoon Ambani has dented the company’s standing in India as it has seen an exodus in paid subscribers. Disney declined to comment.



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