Walt Disney Co. is planning to offload its entire stake in Tata Play Ltd., formerly Tata Sky. The American entertainment giant will sell its 29.8% stake during the proposed initial share sale by Tata Play, according to a report in LiveMint.
Disney’s move comes at a time when the American entertainment giant is focusing on its broadcast and streaming service businesses in India.
Disney received the stake in Tata Play when it acquired the entertainment business of 21st Century Fox from Rupert Murdoch. In 2019, it started internal discussions to exit the Indian company, but IPO plans kept getting deferred for one or the other reason.
On November 29, however, Tata Play filed a confidential offer document for the initial public offering with Sebi.
“Disney has decided to sell its stake in Tata Play and offered all its shares in the upcoming IPO,” one of the persons aware of the development told Mint on the condition of anonymity. “Nowhere in the world is Disney interested in the distribution business. It is a storyteller,” he added.
The report said the ownership of Tata Sky has been a source of conflict for Disney and India’s regulatory bodies and the broadcasting ministry. India allows 100% foreign direct investment in the satellite TV sector, but has capped the maximum stake a broadcaster can own in a direct-to-home TV operator to 20%.
“The current Indian management under K Madhavan is of the view that acquiring the stake in Tata Play was a mistake,” a second person aware of the matter told the publication.
Tata Play is looking at an IPO of Rs 2,500 crore and has hired several banks, including Kotak Mahindra Capital, to advise on the IPO and subsequent listing.
Tata Play has an estimated 22 million paid subscribers. Business Standard