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Business News/ Companies / News/  Nita Ambani likely to Chair Reliance-Disney India media merger, says report
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Nita Ambani likely to Chair Reliance-Disney India media merger, says report

Nita Ambani's anticipated appointment as chair follows her recent departure from the RIL board, signalling a shift towards a focus on charitable endeavours. Presently, she holds the position of founder and chair at the Reliance Foundation.

Reliance Foundation Founder and Chairperson Nita Ambani (ANI)Premium
Reliance Foundation Founder and Chairperson Nita Ambani (ANI)

Nita Ambani, spouse of Indian tycoon Mukesh Ambani, is poised to take the helm as chair of the board following the merger of Reliance Industries and Walt Disney's Indian media assets, Reuters reported citing sources.

Reliance Industries (RIL), under the control of the Ambani family, and Disney are on the verge of finalising their merger deal for the Indian media assets, a project in the works for several months. An official announcement is expected later today, the sources added.

Also Read | Disney, Reliance sign binding pact to merge media operations in India

However, plans may change before the official announcement. Reliance did not provide a comment, and Disney declined to respond to queries, the report said.

Nita Ambani's Role in Focus

Nita Ambani's anticipated appointment as chair follows her recent departure from the RIL board, signalling a shift towards a focus on charitable endeavours. Presently, she holds the position of founder and chair at the Reliance Foundation.

Also Read | Not so fairytale: Inside the battle for board appointments, succession planning, and investor control at Disney

Nita Ambani, along with her family, frequently associates with Bollywood celebrities at their organized events. Additionally, she is the founder of the Nita Mukesh Ambani Cultural Centre in Mumbai, a prominent venue for music and theatre.

Strengthening Reliance's Grip

Reliance and Disney collectively possess a streaming service and a total of 120 television channels. The merger is set to reinforce Reliance's dominance in India's $28 billion media and entertainment market.

Also Read | RIL Tata JV: Mukesh Ambani's Reliance mulls buying 29% stake in Tata Play from Walt Disney

Reuters reported earlier that Reliance is expected to secure a 51-54 percent stake in the merged entity, valuing Disney's Indian operations at $3.5 billion—a significant drop from the estimated $15-$16 billion in 2019.

Bodhi Tree, a joint venture involving James Murdoch and former Disney executive Uday Shankar, is slated to acquire approximately a 9 percent stake in the newly merged entity. Disney is set to retain around 40 percent ownership.

(With inputs from Reuters)

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Published: 28 Feb 2024, 10:05 AM IST
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