Blackstone holds initial talks with Disney for stake in India arm -sources

Blackstone, a leading private equity firm, has reportedly engaged in preliminary discussions with Walt Disney to acquire a stake in its Indian arm, according to sources familiar with the matter. The Indian market has become highly competitive, prompting Disney to explore potential partnerships or a sale of its digital and TV business in the country. While both Blackstone and Disney declined to comment on the matter, it is believed that Blackstone-backed U.S. media firm Candle Media, founded by former Disney executives, played a key role in facilitating the conversations between the two parties.

This news comes in the wake of reports that Disney has also held talks with Indian billionaires Gautam Adani and Kalanithi Maran, owner of Sun TV Network, further highlighting the interest in Disney’s assets in the Indian market. As Disney seeks to revive its streaming business in India, it has recently adopted a strategy of offering free cricket on smartphones, aiming to boost advertising revenue. However, the company has faced challenges in this endeavor, losing streaming rights for significant cricket tournaments, including the Indian Premier League and the national cricket team’s bilateral matches, to Mukesh Ambani’s broadcasting unit.

The potential involvement of Blackstone, a renowned global investment firm, in Disney’s Indian arm showcases the attractiveness of the entertainment giant’s assets in the country. This development could bring about new opportunities and synergies for both companies, leveraging Blackstone’s expertise in private equity and Disney’s strong brand presence in the entertainment industry. As the discussions progress, it will be interesting to see how this potential partnership unfolds and what it could mean for the future of Disney’s operations in India.

Overall, this news highlights the continued interest and investment potential in India’s entertainment market. With multiple suitors vying for a stake in Disney’s Indian arm, it underscores the country’s significance as a key growth market for global entertainment companies. As Disney explores various options to strengthen its position in India, it demonstrates the company’s commitment to adapting its strategies to the evolving landscape and tapping into the immense potential of the Indian market.

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