Murdoch-Uday Shankar’s venture to invest Rs.13,500 cr in Reliance’s Viacom18
Reliance and Viacom18 on Wednesday announced a strategic partnership with Bodhi Tree Systems — a platform of James Murdoch‘s Lupa Systems and Uday Shankar — to form one of the largest TV and digital streaming companies in India. The transaction is expected to close within six months and is subject to closing conditions and requisite approvals.
In addition, the popular JioCinema OTT app will be transferred to Viacom18.
Viacom18 is amongst the leading players in the core linear television business with 38 channels across nine languages and a pan-India presence across general entertainment, movies, sports, youth, music, and kids genres.
Bodhi Tree Systems is leading a fund raise with a consortium of investors to invest Rs.13,500 crore in Viacom18, to jointly build India’s leading entertainment platform and pioneer the Indian media landscape’s transformation to a “streaming-first” approach.
“We are very excited to partner with Bodhi Tree and lead India’s transition to a streaming-first media market. We are committed to bringing the best media and entertainment services for Indian customers through this partnership,” said Mukesh Ambani, Chairman and Managing Director of Reliance Industries.
Upon closing, Viacom18, in close cooperation with Reliance, Bodhi Tree Systems, and Paramount Global, will shape a vision, strategy, and execution for its businesses, building on the strong existing foundation, the statement said.
Paramount Global (formerly known as ViacomCBS), is a leading global media and entertainment company comprised of iconic content studios, TV networks and streaming services including CBS, Showtime Networks, Paramount Pictures, Nickelodeon, MTV, Comedy Central, BET, Paramount+, and Pluto TV will continue as a shareholder of Viacom18 and will continue to supply Viacom18 its premium global content, a statement said.
In February this year, Lupa Systems Founder James Murdoch and Uday Shankar, who is also the former President of Walt Disney Asia Pacific, announced the formation of the investment venture, Bodhi Tree raising USD 1.5 billion from the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA). It was designed to invest in media and consumer technology opportunities in Southeast Asia, with a particular focus on India.
[With Inputs from IANS]
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