New Delhi: The Competition Commission of India (CCI) on Thursday said it has approved a proposed deal between Walt Disney and Network18 group firms, involving combination of their TV channel aggregation business for various distribution platforms.

Giving the proposed deal the green signal, the regulator said the transaction is “not likely to have an appreciable adverse effect on competition in India".

The deal would see UTV Global Broadcasting Ltd—part of Walt Disney group—acquiring a 26% stake in IC Media Distribution Services Pvt. Ltd, part of Network18 group.

IC Media is a wholly-owned subsidiary of IndiaCast Media Distribution Pvt. Ltd, which is into the business of aggregation of television channels broadcast by TV18 Broadcast, Viacom18 Media and certain other broadcasters.

According to CCI, TV18 is a subsidiary of Network18 Media and Investments Ltd. Network18 also holds a 50% stake in Viacom18.

UTV Global Broadcasting had filed a notice seeking approval for the 26% stake buy in IC Media with the regulator on 24 January.

“It has been stated in the notice that the Disney Group and the IndiaCast Group shall grant exclusive licence to IC to distribute their television channels."

“It has also been stated in the notice that post-combination, UTV Global Broadcasting and IndiaCast would cease their aggregation business in India as they now propose to carry out the business of providing the service of aggregation in India through IC (Media) by way of the proposed combination," said the order dated 19 February.

UTV Global Broadcasting is engaged in the business of aggregation and sub-licensing of pay television channels for its two subsidiaries—UTV Entertainment Television Ltd and Genex Entertainment Ltd.

UTV Global Broadcasting is an indirect subsidiary of Walt Disney group that broadcasts nine TV channels in India.

Post combination, “IndiaCast would discontinue its aggregation tie-up with Sun Distribution Services Pvt. Ltd and accordingly the market share of channels which would be aggregated by IC would be less than that of IndiaCast", the order said.

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