Last month, Disney announced it was entering into an agreement with Reliance Industries and Viacom18 to create a new joint venture that will combine the businesses of Viacom18 and Star India. This new company will offer a variety of linear television channels and combine Disney+ Hotstar and Jiocinema to form a super streaming service in India. 

The joint venture will also be granted exclusive rights to distribute Disney films and productions in India, with a license to more than 30,000 Disney content assets, providing a full suite of entertainment options for the Indian consumer.

Disney has been struggling to operate in India since it purchased Star India as part of a larger purchase of 20th Century Fox, and this new deal allows Disney to remain a major player within India, but to reduce the risks.    Disney will own 36.84% of the new joint venture, Reliance will own 16.34%, and Viacom18 will own 46.82%. 

However, according to Bloomberg, Paramount is considering selling its minority stake in Viacom18 to Reliance.  These talks are still ongoing and may not necessarily result in a sale.  Viacom18 is a joint venture that Reliance primarily owns, with Paramount owning around 13%.

Paramount is going through a major crisis at the moment, with the company being shopped around to different companies and partners, including an offer from David Ellison to buy out the Redstone family stake in order to merge Skydance Media with Paramount.  Discussions have also taken place with Comcast and Warner Brothers Discovery about merging Paramount+ with their streaming platforms. 


Recently some assets had to be sold by the owners of Paramount to help pay some of the debt off, which is likely a major reason why the sale of its stake in Viacom18 is likely to happen.  Should the sale go through, it will just continue to increase Reliance’s stake in the new joint venture and help reduce the debt Paramount owns.

Earlier this week, Disney CEO Bob Iger spoke at a Morgan Stanley event, where he explained the reason for their new joint venture:

We wanted to stay in India. We made a big investment in India when we purchased the assets of 21st Century Fox. We’re one of the biggest media companies in India. But even though it’s the most populous country in the world, and we felt we want to be there because of that, we also know that there are challenges in that market.

And we had an opportunity to align with Reliance, which is obviously the company that has done very well there and one that we respect. And in doing so, end up owning part of a bigger media company. And we believe that, that not only should benefit us in terms of the bottom-line, but derisk us as well there.

So, it’s kind of the best of both worlds. We stay in the market at a significant level. We have a very good partner in Reliance, and we get to have a chance of growing a business and lowering the risk of doing so.

What do you think of Paramount potentially selling its stake in Viacom18?  Let us know on social media!

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Roger Palmer

Roger has been a Disney fan since he was a kid and this interest has grown over the years. He has visited Disney Parks around the globe and has a vast collection of Disney movies and collectibles. He is the owner of What's On Disney Plus & DisKingdom. Email: Twitter: Facebook:

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