Disney’s $8.5bn Merger with Reliance; Google Sued for $2.3bn; Elon Musk Sues OpenAI 

On today’s ExchangeWire digest: Disney’s $8.5bn Merger with Reliance; Google Sued for $2.3bn; Elon Musk Sues OpenAI 

Disney has announced a USD$8.5bn (£6.2bn) deal to merge its India business with Reliance Industries, an Indian multinational conglomerate. The merger will create the largest media entity in India, giving both parties control over 85% of the country’s streaming landscape – equal to half of the TV audience. Last year, Disney suffered a significant setback through losing the rights to stream the IPL cricket tournament from 2023 to 2027 – the streaming rights are paramount, with many Indian fans watching via mobile phone instead of on linear TV.  Although the TV giant held onto the linear broadcasting rights, it lost the streaming rights to JioCinema, a joint venture between Reliance Industries and Viacom18. 

In the legal landscape, Google has been sued by European media groups for USD $2.3bn (£1.8bn) over digital ad losses. The lawsuit, filed by 32 media groups, alleges that they had suffered losses as a result of the tech giant’s practices in digital advertising. Media groups involved in bringing forward the lawsuit include Axel Springer and publishers in countries including Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Hungary, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain, and Sweden. A statement issued by the media groups’ lawyers claimed that they had “incurred losses due to a less competitive market” which was “a direct result of Google’s misconduct”. A Google spokesperson has said that the tech giant opposes the lawsuit for being speculative and opportunistic. 

Staying in the orbit of legal news, Elon Musk has sued OpenAI and its co-founders (Sam Altman and Greg Brockman) as well as affiliated entities over the ‘betrayal’ of their non-profit AI mission. Musk alleges that OpenAI’s makers breached their original contractual agreements by pursuing profits instead of the company’s founding mission to develop AI tools which could benefit humanity. The lawsuit says the company shifted to a for-profit organisation after partnering with tech giant Microsoft, which invested billions into the startup. 

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