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Disney to take controlling stake in India's UTV

01 february 2012, 14:04
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©REUTERS/Chris Pizzello
©REUTERS/Chris Pizzello
US media giant Disney announced Tuesday it will take a controlling interest in India's leading television producer, UTV, and delist the Indian media and entertainment group, AFP reports.

"Increasing our brand presence and reach in key international markets is a cornerstone of our growth strategy," Disney International chairman Andy Bird said in a statement.

"This acquisition expands our footprint significantly and allows us to more effectively build, monetize and brand multi-platform franchises, and deliver a rich library of content to the world's second largest population," he added.

UTV, which has interests from film and television to gaming and animation, has already acquired public shareholders' approval to delist the company's shares from Indian stock exchanges, after buying out the respective stakes.

In July, it announced that Disney was seeking a buyout of its shares for about $454 million. Disney did not disclose the financial terms of the deal on Tuesday.

Until now, Disney India has held 50.44 percent of UTV, and its chief executive Ronnie Screwvala and three other promoters a 19.82 percent stake.

Screwvala has been named managing director of Disney India, and will report to Bird, the company said.

Disney has been working to get a foothold for a number of years in India, which is one of the world's fastest-growing media and entertainment markets.

It first began operations in the country in 2004 as Hollywood began looking to emerging markets such as India, China and Russia to boost growth.

It has also moved into India's expanding cable and satellite television market through its children's outlets such as the Disney Channel and Hungama TV.

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