Mumbai: Walt 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 US 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 Pvt., a joint venture between Paramount Global and Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries Ltd., according to people familiar with the matter, who are not authorized the 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.
Disney’s plan to consider at least a partial pullout from its India TV business came after CEO 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.