Walt Disney to acquire controlling stake in UTV

The Walt Disney Company today said that it will acquire a controlling interest in UTV Software Communications Ltd, one of India's biggest television producer, as part of the US entertainment giant's plan to expand its presence in Bollywood, media and gaming.

The California-based company, which holds a 50.4-per cent stake in UTV, said in a December 2011 newspaper advertisement that it would launch an open offer in January 2012 for the remaining shares it does not already own in UTV. (See: Walt Disney to launch open offer for UTV Software on 16 January)

The move comes after the Indian government last month approved the proposal by the US entertainment giant.

Walt Disney did not disclose how much it will pay to acquire the stake, but it had said in the newspaper advertisement that it would pay between Rs835.03 to Rs1,000 a share. At Rs1,000, the purchase would cost Disney about Rs2,033 ($384 million)

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

The acquisition will be completed through a successful delisting offer and Screwvala will take over as managing director of The Walt Disney Company India reporting to Andy Bird, chairman, Walt Disney International, the company said in a statement.