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Disney Set to Sell Majority Stake in Indian Biz, Including Hotstar Streamer, For a Loss Media Play News

February 1, 2024

Disney is reportedly set to sell a 60% stake in its Indian media assets, which include the Hotstar streaming service, Star India TV and Tata Sky, as it seeks to reduce global operating costs.

Hotstar has been integral to Disney+ since the latter’s global debut in late 2019, representing at its peak almost 40% of the streamer’s worldwide subscribers.

That significance waned last year when subscribers began exiting the platform after Hotstar lost its exclusive streaming rights to Indian Premier League cricket, which, along with soccer, is a national sport in India.

Disney+ Hotstar accounted for 37.4 million subs at the end of the most-recent fiscal period, down from 40.4 million through June 30, 2023.

In 2022, Hotstar lost the IPL rights following a multi-billion dollar bidding war with Viacom18, the latter a partnership between India’s Reliance Industries, Paramount Global and private equity company Bodhi Tree Systems.

Viacom18 is now paying $1.5 billion in cash for majority ownership of Disney’s Indian media assets, which is valued at $3.9 billion, according to The Wall Street Journal, which first reported the deal. The deal is slated to close this month.

When Disney assumed ownership of Hotstar, Star India TV and Tata following its $71.3 billion acquisition of 20th Century Fox, the Indian assets were valued upwards of $7 billion.

Erik Gruenwedel

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