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Disney and Reliance logos are seen in this illustration taken December 15, 2023. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

 

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, Khaitan & Co, and Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co are advising Reliance Industries and its media subsidiary Viacom18 on a planned $8.5 billion media merger with Walt Disney’s Star India.

Star is being represented by Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, Covington & Burling and AZB & Partners.

Paramount Global, an existing JV partner in Viacom18, was represented by JSA. 

As part of the transaction, the media undertaking of Viacom18 will be merged into Star India through a court-approved scheme of arrangement.

 The deal will bring together two of India’s biggest media brands, Star and Viacom18.

Reliance will inject $1.4 billion in the merged entity, with the company and its affiliates holding a more than 63 percent stake, with Disney owning the rest, the companies said in a joint statement.

The merger values the India business of the U.S. entertainment giant at just around $3 billion, far lower than the roughly $15 billion valuation when Disney acquired it as part of its Fox deal in 2019. A senior Disney source said the value of the company's India assets was closer to $4.3 billion, when accounting for synergies, Reuters reported.

Together, the Reliance-Disney merged entity will have 120 TV channels and two streaming platforms, plus TV and streaming cricket rights for key tournaments in a country with a crazy following for the sport.

The merger will need to be cleared by the Competition Commission of India, which will look into potential antitrust concerns that may arise from the market consolidation in this deal.

The Khaitan transaction team representing Reliance was led by M&A practice head Haigreve Khaitan and included partners Deepak Jodhani, Kartick Maheshwari, Mehul Shah, and Tanu Banerjee. The deal was also supported by partners Rahul Dutt (corporate), Adheesh Nargolkar and Smriti Yadav (intellectual property), Anisha Chand and Anshuman Sakle (competition), Sneha Janakiraman (litigation) and Deepak Kumar (employment).

The SAM team was led by managing partner Pallavi Shroff and included M&A partners Iqbal Khan and Puja Sondhi, competition partner Shweta Shroff, technology, media and telecommunications partner Shashank Mishra, and investments and strategic buy-outs partner Shivangi Talwar.

The JSA team that advised Paramount Global was led by partners Lalit Kumar and Bharati Joshi. 

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