Walt Disney to launch open offer for UTV Software on 16 January

Walt Disney Co today said that it would launch an open offer on 16 January for the shares it does not already own in UTV Software Communications Ltd.

The California-based company, which holds a 50.4-per cent stake in UTV, said in a newspaper advertisement that it would pay Rs835.03 to Rs1,000 a share for delisting the company in a move that will see the US entertainment giant expand its presence in Bollywood, media and gaming.

At Rs1,000, the purchase would cost Disney about Rs2,033 ($384 million). Shares of UTV were trading at Rs993.65 yesterday.

UTV Software, a holding company, is a producer and distributor of movies, broadcasts a clutch of movie and entertainment channels, and is into content production for television and other digital media. It also has a presence in gaming.

The company operates through a number of subsidiaries, including movie production under UTV Motion Pictures, Indiagames, and UTV Global Broadcasting that broadcasts entertainment and movie channels, all of which would form part of Walt Disney's Indian unit with the completion of the  transaction.

Once UTV is delisted, promoter Rohinton (Ronnie) Screwvala would cease to be the chairman and managing director of UTV Software Communications and would take over as managing director of The Walt Disney Company India, responsible for overseeing Indian businesses of the Disney Group.