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Walt Disney to hike stake in UTV Software to 32 pc; to put in Rs 805 crore

19-February-2008
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Walt Disney to hike stake in UTV Software to 32 pc; to put in Rs 805 crore

In one of the largest media and entertainment foreign investments in India, The Walt Disney Company, Southeast Asia, a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company, has announced its plans to increase its stake in UTV Software Communications to 32.1 per cent. The company will be investing nearly Rs 805 crore in UTV Software.

The company is also investing Rs 119 crore to acquire a 15 per cent stake in UTV Global Broadcasting. The investments of The Walt Disney Company, Southeast Asia, in UTV and UTV Global, together with the warrants to be issued to Ronnie Screwvala’s Promoter Group of Rs 390 crore after excise, makes this total deal worth Rs 1,314 crore.

The transaction would be done through a preferential allotment to The Walt Disney Company, Southeast Asia, and the promoters as per SEBI regulations and would require a public announcement to all UTV shareholders. The investment and the open offer are subject to shareholder and regulatory approvals.

This investment further establishes The Walt Disney Company’s entry into the Indian market and complements the fast-growing Disney-branded businesses and long-held joint venture in ESPN-STAR Sports. As a result of this investment, The Walt Disney Company’s stake in UTV will go up from 13.7 per cent to 32.1 per cent on a fully diluted share capital basis.

Andy Bird, Chairman, Walt Disney International, and a board member of UTV, said, “We are pleased with our initial investment in UTV, which has strong local brands and media properties that provide complementary growth platforms to Disney’s existing branded efforts. The UTV management team is proven and well-respected, and we look forward to continue to work with them.”

Ronnie Screwvala, Founder Promoter and Group CEO of UTV, commented, “This partnership across movies, TV content, interactive and broadcasting endorses our leadership position in India and South East Asia and propels our already growing global story. Over the last year, we have learnt to work well together and the speed at which this collaborative deal was put together is testament to the strong working relationship we have built.”

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