MUMBAI, March 23 (Reuters) - Oil-to-telecoms conglomerate
Reliance Industries is buying a stake in Indian music
streaming service Saavn and will merge it with its JioMusic app
to create a new entity it said would be valued at $1 billion.
As part of the deal, Reliance will buy a stake in Saavn from
its shareholders for $104 million. It also plans to invest up to
$100 million, $20 million of it upfront, to expand the
JioMusic-Saavn combine, both sides said in a joint statement on
Saavn's existing investors - including Tiger Global
Management, Liberty Media and Bertelsmann - will retain a
holding in the new music services, according to the statement.
Reliance, controlled by India's richest man Mukesh Ambani,
did not disclose the size of its stake in the JioMusic-Saavn
combine, but it said the $1 billion valuation for the merged
entity included a $670 million valuation for JioMusic.
Reliance's Jio telecoms business has been India's
fastest-growing phone carrier since its launch in September
2016. It disrupted the market with discounts and free voice
offerings, while expanding its library of Indian films, music
and TV shows.
Analysts say Jio is betting on entertainment and sports
content to boost users' spend on data. It has agreed several
partnerships by buying stakes in Indian film studio group Eros
International and Bollywood production house Balaji
(Reporting by Sankalp Phartiyal;
Editing by Devidutta Tripathy and Jane Merriman)
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