Reliance And Disney Seek Antitrust Clearance For Their $8.5 Billion Mega-Merger Deal

Reliance Industries and Disney are eyeing antitrust approval for their $8.5 billion Indian media merger, stating that it won't harm other competitors in the space

Reliance Industries and Walt Disney are eyeing antitrust approval for their $8.5 billion merger in the Indian media sector. They're claiming that their combined influence, particularly in cricket broadcasting, won't hurt advertisers.

As per a report by Reuters, the deal has been facing increased scrutiny as it will establish India's largest entertainment entity, boasting 120 television channels and two streaming platforms. Besides this, the deal will also include cricket broadcasting rights, which is India's most viewed sport.

Both companies have reportedly informed the competition watchdog, the Competition Commission of India (CCI), that the cricket rights were acquired independently through a competitive bidding process, according to sources cited in the report. The companies have also stated that competitors will not suffer any harm since they will have the opportunity to bid for the rights when they expire in 2027 and 2028.

CCI will undertake a review of the confidential filing. While the clearance process usually spans several weeks, it may be extended if the watchdog requires additional information.

Currently, Disney and Reliance hold digital and television broadcasting rights for cricket, including those for the Indian Premier League (IPL), International Cricket Council (ICC) matches, and games organized by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

Now this has sparked concerns that the merged entity could exert significant influence over advertisers and consumers. In March, K.K. Sharma, a former head of mergers at the CCI, stated that the regulator might be worried because "hardly anything of cricket will be left" outside of Disney-Reliance's "absolute control over cricket."

Meanwhile, Jefferies has already projected that the Disney-Reliance entity will capture a massive 40 per cent share of the advertising market in both TV and streaming segments.

Related Stories

No stories found.
Outlook Business & Money