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Walt Disney to acquire controlling stake in UTV

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

US-based The Company has announced it will acquire full control of Indian media and entertainment company and Communications Ltd following completion of a delisting offer and the company will subsequently be integrated within Disney's own operations.

"The acquisition will be completed through a successful delisting offer," Communications said in a filing to the BSE today.

In July last year Co, through its subsidiary Company (South East Asia) Pvt Ltd, offered to buy out stakes held by public shareholders and other promoters of UTV in a deal valued at around Rs 2,000 crore.

In December, 2011, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) approved the proposal of Walt Disney Co to increase its shareholding in UTV.

As of December 31, 2011, the promoters and promoter group shareholding in UTV stood at 70.04%, including 50.28% owned by Walt Disney Company (South East Asia) Pte Ltd.

As part of the deal, UTV Chief Executive Officer Ronnie Screwvala has been appointed Managing Director of The Walt Disney Company India.

Following completion of the deal, Disney will produce both UTV and Disney-branded local films, the BSE filing added.

"In combining the creative capabilities of each company, we will integrate a large stable of vibrant brands and franchises in the branded entertainment space," Screwvala said.

The Indian market offers huge potential as the middle class is expected to become more than 500 million people by 2025, compared to 50 million at present, he added.

Commenting on the deal, Walt Disney International Chairman Andy Bird said: "This acquisition expands our footprint significantly and allows us to more effectively build, monetise and brand a multi-platform franchise and deliver a rich library of content to the world's second largest population."

Increasing Disney's brand presence and reach in key international markets is a cornerstone for its growth strategy, he added.

UTV operates in five verticals -- broadcasting, games, motion pictures, digital content and television content.

UTV scrips were trading at 1,060 apiece, up 0.37% from their previous close on the BSE.

First Published: Wed, February 01 2012. 14:15 IST