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Uday Shankar & Lupa Systems’ Bodhi Tree to invest Rs 13500 cr in Viacom18

The partnership is set to form one of the largest TV and digital streaming companies in the country

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Published: Apr 28, 2022 7:17 AM  | 2 min read
Uday Shankar

Reliance and Viacom18 have announced a strategic partnership with Bodhi Tree Systems, which is a platform of James Murdoch’s Lupa Systems and Uday Shankar, to form one of the largest TV and digital streaming companies in India.

Bodhi Tree Systems is leading a fund raise with a consortium of investors to invest Rs 13,500 crore in Viacom18, to jointly build an entertainment platform and pioneer the Indian media landscape’s transformation to a “streaming-first” approach.

exchange4media had reported in January how Shankar and Murdoch are set to re-enter the TV broadcasting business in India.
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Viacom18 owns and operates the suite of Colors TV channels and OTT platform, VOOT.

Reliance Projects & Property Management Services Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Reliance Industries which has significant presence in television, OTT, distribution, content creation, and production services, will invest Rs 1,645 crore. In addition, JioCinema OTT app will be transferred to Viacom18.

Speaking about the partnership, Mukesh D Ambani, Chairman & Managing Director of Reliance Industries Limited, said, “James and Uday’s track record is unmatched. For over two decades, they have played an undeniable role in shaping the media ecosystem in India, Asia, and around the world. 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.”

“We could not be more pleased to announce our new partnership,” Murdoch and Shankar said. “Our ambition is to leverage technology advances, particularly in mobile, to provide meaningful solutions to meet everyday media and entertainment needs at scale. We seek to reshape the entertainment experience across more than 1 billion screens.”

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. Viacom18 is amongst the leading players in the core linear television business with 38 channels across nine languages and a pan India presence.

The transaction is expected to close within six months and is subject to closing conditions and requisite approvals.

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