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RIL expands M&E footprint, picks 5% stake in Eros

Jyoti Deshpande, Group CEO and MD of Eros, will head the Media and Entertainment business at RIL as President of the Chairman’s Office

Close on the heels of acquisition of 25% stake in TV and film production company Balaji Telefilms last year and turning majority partner in Viacom18 earlier this year, Mukesh Ambani has further expanded his footprint in the media and entertainment sector. Ambani, through a subsidiary of his Reliance Industries Limited, is set to buy a 5% stake in film production and distribution outlet Eros International for over Rs 340 crore.

Besides the proposed stake-purchase, RIL and Eros have agreed to partner in India to jointly produce and consolidate content from across India. The parties will equally invest up to Rs 1,000 crore in aggregate (approximately USD150 million) to produce and acquire Indian films and digital originals across all languages.

Jyoti Deshpande, Group CEO and MD of Eros, will be stepping down from her Executive role after more than 17 years in Eros and move on to head the Media and Entertainment business at RIL as President of the Chairman’s Office. She will start her role at RIL from April 2018, but will continue to remain as a Non-Executive Director on the Board of Eros.

Kishore Lulla will resume his position of Group Chairman and CEO of Eros.

In her new role at RIL, Deshpande will lead the company’s initiatives in Media and Entertainment to organically build and grow businesses around the content ecosystem such as Broadcasting, Films, Sports, Music, Digital, Gaming, Animation etc., as well as integrate RIL’s existing media investments such as Viacom18 and Balaji Telefilms.

Ambani commented, “We are pleased to join hands with Eros, as it will bring further synergies into our plans, making for a win-win partnership. We are delighted to welcome Jyoti Deshpande into the Reliance family and believe that she will not only give wings to our plans but also play a pivotal role in transforming the sector.”

Lulla said, “I am very pleased that Eros is partnering with RIL in its entertainment journey with several synergies across technology, content and digital with Eros Now. We look forward to collaborating and growing as we continue to make new strides on the digital and content forefronts. I am confident that together, we can make a meaningful difference. Jyoti Deshpande has been an invaluable part of the incredible Eros growth journey and I am confident that she will make a positive impact on the industry in her new role at RIL. I wish her the very best of luck.”

Deshpande commented, “Having worked and associated with Eros group since 1998, it has been an integral part of my professional career and I extend my heartfelt thanks to Kishore Lulla and the Eros family for the opportunity to build an amazing company together. I am delighted that RIL has strategically aligned with Eros, so the association continues. My new assignment at RIL will allow me to push boundaries, set new standards of excellence, assemble a world-class young leadership team and adopt a collaborative approach to architect and execute this ambition in true RIL tradition. I am genuinely honoured and humbled to have been granted this opportunity but more than anything I cannot wait to roll up my sleeves.”

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