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Reliance Merger is ‘Best of Both Worlds’ in India”: Disney CEO

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In a significant development in the Indian media landscape, the CEO of Walt Disney Company, Bob Iger, has expressed enthusiastic support for the recent merger between Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) and Disney’s India arm. Speaking at a Morgan Stanley investor conference, Iger hailed the deal as “the best of both worlds” for the entertainment giant.

The merger, announced just days ago, marks a strategic partnership between Reliance, Viacom 18 Media Private Limited (Viacom18), and The Walt Disney Company. Under the agreement, the businesses of Viacom18 and Star India Private Limited are set to be combined, creating a powerful entity in India’s media and entertainment sector.

During his address at the investor conference, Iger reaffirmed Disney’s commitment to the Indian market despite acknowledging the challenges it poses. He underscored the country’s significance as the most populous in the world and highlighted Disney’s substantial investment in India, particularly with the acquisition of assets from 21st Century Fox.

Emphasizing the rationale behind the partnership with Reliance, Iger praised the conglomerate’s track record of success in India and its esteemed reputation within the market. He stated that aligning with Reliance not only enhances Disney’s financial prospects but also serves to mitigate risks associated with operating in the Indian market.

“We had an opportunity to align with Reliance, which is obviously the company that has done very well there and one that we respect,” remarked Iger. “In doing so, [we] end up owning part of a bigger media company. And we believe that not only should benefit us in terms of the bottom-line but derisk us as well there.”

The CEO’s remarks shed light on the strategic objectives behind the merger, emphasizing the synergies between Disney’s global presence and Reliance’s stronghold in the Indian market. The partnership aims to leverage the respective strengths of the two entities to drive growth and innovation in the Indian media industry.

With the agreement set to create a joint venture that combines the resources and expertise of Viacom18, Star India, and Disney, industry analysts anticipate a significant impact on India’s media landscape. The merger reflects the ongoing evolution of the media and entertainment sector in India and underscores the strategic importance of partnerships in driving growth and expansion.

As Disney’s collaboration with Reliance takes shape, stakeholders across the industry will closely monitor developments, anticipating the transformative impact of this strategic alliance on India’s vibrant media ecosystem.

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