Walt Disney can resell its audiovisual assets in India

Walt Disney was in the spotlight on Wall Street on Wednesday, October 10, while his group private equity Blackstone may acquire all or part of its video streaming and television business in India, Reuters reports, citing Economic Times. This hypothetical asset arbitrage occurred in an already volatile context for large companies: earlier in the week, activist Nelson Peltz and his Trian fund applied pressure, with the aim of gaining a seat on the board of directors. .

In India, Blackstone has held preliminary discussions with Walt Disney with a view to acquiring a stake in the entertainment group’s Indian arm, both media outlets said, citing sources familiar with the matter.

Blackstone is the latest suitor for Disney’s assets on the continent, where the American group is considering a sale or joint venture partnership for its digital and television activities.

Last week, American media company Candle Media, which is backed by Blackstone and founded by former Disney executives, held talks between the two parties. Disney is also in discussions with Indian billionaire Gautam Adani and Sun TV Network owner Kalanithi Maran, according to a recent Bloomberg report.

Customer bleeding

During the summer of 2023, Disney+ Hotstar, its homegrown platform for video-on-demand services, experienced a subscriber hemorrhage in India after it stopped broadcasting Indian cricket matches, a hugely popular sport in the country.

Based on the latest published figures, the number of paid subscribers increased from 60 million paid subscribers in October 2022 to 40 million in early August 2023. No less than 50% of this decline was concentrated in the last three months, which was a direct impact of the loss of broadcasts. rights to the Indian Premier League. The competition is now joined by another broadcaster, JioCinema, which happens to be owned by Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani.

The Burbank company is under pressure from shareholders to make its video streaming business profitable, which still showed a loss of $550 million during the April-June period. They’re also facing an overall decline in subscriber numbers: Disney+ lost 7.4% of subscribers over the last quarter, with a total of 146.1 million subscribers worldwide at the start of August. The group’s three streaming offerings, Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+ totaled 221.1 million subscriptions worldwide as of that date, well behind Netflix and its 241 million subscribers.

Garfield Woolery

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