Disney expands in India

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BOMBAY -- Entertainment giant Walt Disney Co. is looking to expand its Indian operations and is negotiating to increase its stake in the local joint venture, Walt Disney Consumer Products India.

Disney seeks to increase its current 51% interest in the Indian joint venture with New Delhi-based K.K. Modi Group, a 49% shareholder. A wholly owned subsidiary may be considered too.

The marketer also plans to launch the Disney Channel in India. Beaming round the clock to the subcontinent via a satellite uplink from Singapore, the channel will offer staple Disney cartoons and other entertainment software.

Although hamstrung by local legal restrictions, high property prices and the lack of a preset distribution network, Disney in India continues to grow 32% annually since its 1993 entry with licensing of brands for stationery, toys, gifts, apparel, school supplies, accessories and confectionery products. It will soon open three stores in the nation's capital of New Delhi by yearend.

Copyright May 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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