The Walt Disney Company has made a $454m offer to buy out its partners in Mumbai-based UTV Software Communications, the parent company of film producer-distributor UTV Motion Pictures.
Disney offered $22.76 (Rs1,000) a share to acquire the 49.6% stake in UTV it doesn’t already own. In addition to film production, UTV Software also operates TV channels and is involved in the video games business.
The studio said in a statement that it has started delisting UTV shares from India’s Bombay Stock Exchange and National Stock Exchange. If this process is successful, it will also take over the stakes of UTV husband-and-wife co-founders Ronnie Screwvala and Zarina Mehta.
The founders have agreed to the deal and if it goes through, Screwvala will become managing director of the Walt Disney Company India.
In 2006, Disney acquired a 15% stake in UTV for $44.5m, which a few years later it increased to 50.44%. When it lifted its shareholding, the studio stated that it would not be taking management control of UTV.
Until recently, UTV and Disney kept their Indian film production activities separate – both developing their own slates of Indian-language films. However, the two companies announced this May that they will co-produce a slate of Disney-branded films aimed at family audiences.