Uday Shankar To Be Vice Chair Of India's Merged Reliance Disney Business

(MENAFN- Khaleej Times) Former Walt Disney executive Uday Shankar will be named as vice chairman of the board following a merger between the India media assets of Reliance Industries and Disney, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Reliance and Disney are expected to make a formal announcement on Wednesday after signing a binding pact.

Shankar and Reliance did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Shankar currently sits on the board of Viacom18, the broadcast division of Reliance.

Bodhi Tree, a joint venture between James Murdoch and Shankar, is set to take a stake of around 9% in the new merged entity, Reuters reported in February.

Reliance and Disney each have a streaming service and 120 television channels between them and the deal is expected to strengthen Reliance's hold over India's $28 billion media and entertainment market.

Reuters on Tuesday reported that the new entity was likely to have Nita Ambani, wife of Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani, as chair of the board.

Shankar, a media industry veteran, is credited with anchoring the rise of popular streaming app Hotstar in India and the many TV channels of Star India prior to its acquisition by Disney from Fox Corp. Most recently he has steered the business and growth strategy of the newly launched JioCinema streaming app of Reliance.


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