Reliance Industries acquires stake in Balaji Telefilms

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AZB & Partners acted as legal advisers to Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) in the acquisition of a 24.92% of equity share in film and television production house Balaji Telefilms (BTL) for US$64 million.

The board of directors of both companies approved the investment and finalized the deal. Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas advised BTL, with the team led by managing partner Akshay Chudasama.

Partners Ashwath Rau, Nilanjana Singh and Ami Parikh led AZB & Partners, supported by senior associate Vasudha Asher and associate Pranav Atit. “Our firm advised RIL on all aspects of the transaction,” Rau told India Business Law Journal. “The proceeds from the transaction would be utilized to further speed up content development initiatives, especially for the video on demand (VOD) platform ALTBalaji, in order to enable it to compete with other OTT (over-the-top) service providers.”

BTL launched ALTBalaji in April 2017 and the VOD platform has received four million downloads across 80 countries.

“Balaji is on a growth journey towards becoming the preferred content producer for the Indian diaspora across all means of video consumption and across all geographies,” said Balaji chairman (and former film star) Jeetendra Kapoor. “This investment is a vote of confidence to the company’s strategic move to own our IP and our viewers.”

The acquisition is in line with RIL’s growth strategy in the telecom, digital and media businesses. The completion of the deal is subject to customary corporate and other approvals, and is expected to be completed within 60 days. Axis Capital acted as the sole investment banker for this transaction.