Reliance's Viacom18, Star India Inch Closer To Merger As NCLT Initiates Process

The merger process between Reliance‘s Viacom18 and Star India has been initiated by the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT).

What Happened: According to a report by The Economic Times on Friday, the NCLT has begun the merger process of Viacom18 and Star India.

In a ruling on May 7, a division bench comprising judicial member Kishore Vemulapalli and technical member Anu Jagmohan Singh instructed the companies to organise meetings of their secured and unsecured creditors to seek approval for the merger scheme.

The tribunal appointed retired Justice Suresh Chandrakant Gupte as chairperson for the meetings of secured and unsecured creditors of Viacom18 and unsecured creditors of Star India.

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The merger, which is subject to regulatory approvals, is expected to be finalised in the upcoming months. The combined entity will have a substantial presence in the Indian media and entertainment industry, offering a diverse range of products across various segments.

Why It Matters: Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) and The Walt Disney Company had previously announced a joint venture (JV) to merge Viacom18 and Star India in February. This mega-merger, valued at ₹70,352 crore ($8.5 billion), will see RIL holding a 16.34% stake, while Viacom18 and Disney will hold 46.82% and 36.84% respectively.

The JV, led by Nita Ambani as Chairperson and Uday Shankar as Vice Chairperson, aims to be a leader in both TV and digital streaming. It plans to combine iconic entertainment and sports brands to captivate over 750 million viewers in India and beyond. The venture also secures exclusive rights to distribute Disney's cinematic content in India, enriching its content library with over 30,000 Disney assets. This merger is a significant step towards the realization of these ambitious plans.

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