Funding squeeze fallout: James Murdoch’s Bodhi Tree slashes planned investment in Reliance Apextalk

Bodhi Tree, a joint venture between James Murdoch and a former Star India executive, has reduced its planned investment in Reliance’s broadcast venture Viacom18 by 70% and will now pump in 43.06 billion rupees ($527.84 million), Viacom18 said late on Thursday.

Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries had said in April last year that Qatar Investment Authority-backed Bodhi Tree would spend 135 billion rupees out of a planned 151.45 billion rupees investment in the media behemoth that is also backed by Paramount Global.

Reliance is now leading the investment with a 108.39 billion rupees infusion.

A source familiar with the matter said the investment amount was reduced due to a broader funding squeeze amid a slowdown in dealmaking.

Global mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity shrank to the lowest level in more than a decade in the first quarter of 2023, as rising interest rates, high inflation and fears of a recession soured the appetite of companies for dealmaking.

Reliance, which is expanding in every sector from retail to ecommerce, made its big splash in the Indian streaming space last year, with its acquisition of digital streaming rights for the Indian Premier League T20 cricket tournament from 2023 to 2027.

All matches are currently streamed free of cost for viewers on Viacom18-owned JioCinema. The FIFA World Cup in Qatar last year was also streamed for free.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text.

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