Paramount Global has sold its 13 per cent stake in Viacom18 to Reliance Industries for ₹4,286 crore. With this Reliance Industries stake in Viacom18 will increase from 57 per cent to 70 per cent. 

Paramount began investing in India nearly two decades ago. MTV Networks, a unit of Paramount, founded Viacom18 in 2007. Years later, Paramount Global formed a joint venture with TV18, another media company in which Reliance eventually acquired a controlling stake.

“The binding agreement has been entered into on Thursday at 1:38 a.m. between the company and two subsidiaries of Paramount Global for the company to acquire 13.01 per cent equity stake (on a fully diluted basis) of Viacom 18 Media Private Ltd (“Viacom18”) held by Paramount Global through its two subsidiaries for an aggregate consideration of ₹4,286 crore,” Reliance said in a stock exchange filing

Reliance’s efforts to consolidate stake in Viacom18 came at the heels of the $8.5-billion media merger between Reliance and Disney. With this, Reliance is set to become the largest entity in the media industry. The joint venture stands to capture about 85 per cent of the country’s on-demand streaming service audience and about half of the TV viewers, according to analysts, posing bigger challenges to Netflix, Amazon’s Prime Video, Apple, Sony and Zee.

The merger, which is scheduled to complete by March 2025, will have exclusive digital and broadcast rights to some of the key sporting events — including the next four years of popular cricket tournament IPL, flagship ICC events, domestic Indian cricket, FIFA World Cup, Premier League and Wimbledon.