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Rostelecom to buy out Tele2 Russia; Italy probing Sky/Mediaset Premium deal

S&P Global Market Intelligence provides a wrap-up of European media and communications deal announcements, completions and updates from March 11 to March 15.

TOP NEWS

* Russian national operator Rostelecom PJSC has agreed to buy the remaining 55% stake it did not already own in mobile operator Tele2 Russia. Rostelecom is acquiring the stake from an investor group composed of Russian state-owned bank VTB Bank PJSC, PJSC Invintel BV and ABR Investments BV, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence data. Tele2 Russia will continue operating separately from Rostelecom after the deal's completion, Telecompaper reported, quoting Rostelecom CEO Mikhail Oseevskiy. In 2014, Tele2 Russia and Rostelecom's mobile assets were merged into a single entity named T2 RTK Holding, which continued operating under the Tele2 brand. Rostelecom owns 45% of T2 RTK, with the VTB Group-led consortium holding at least 55%.

* The Italian competition regulator is launching an investigation into Sky Italia SRL's proposed acquisition of Mediaset Premium SpA's digital terrestrial pay TV platform R2 SRL, Digital TV Europe reported March 11. The AGCM probe will focus on whether the deal could boost the Sky PLC unit's dominant positions in the Italian pay TV and wholesale pay TV distribution markets. In November 2018, Mediaset Premium's parent entity, broadcaster Mediaset SpA, exercised a put option to sell R2 to Sky Italia, subject to regulatory approval.

M&A media

* Accenture PLC, through subsidiary Accenture Interactive, acquired Netherlands-based digital marketing agency Storm Digital. The acquisition is expected to expand Accenture Interactive's footprint in the Netherlands.

* Livingbridge made an investment in London-headquartered data-led marketing company Brainlabs. The private equity firm said the investment, made through its Enterprise fund, will support Brainlabs' acquisition-led growth strategy.

M&A communications

* Telia Co. AB said March 15 that it informed the European Commission of its intent to acquire Bonnier Broadcasting AB. The EC is expected to review the acquisition, including for potential competition concerns. After the first phase of the review, which may take about 25 days, the EC may either approve the transaction or extend the investigation process. Telia's planned 9.2 billion Swedish kronor acquisition of the Bonnier AB unit will include Swedish commercial TV broadcaster TV4 AB, pay TV operator C More Entertainment AB and Finnish broadcaster MTV Oy.

* Cyberfort Group Ltd. bought Auriga Consulting, which provides risk and compliance management, cyber design and implementation, and cyber monitoring and intelligence services. The transaction represents the fourth bolt-on acquisition for the Palatine Pvt. Equity LLP-backed company.

* Laurel Solutions, an affiliate of private equity firm FFL Partners LLC, completed the purchase of Sheffield, U.K.-based Servelec Technologies Ltd. The acquisition is in line with Laurel Solutions' plans to enhance its portfolio of commercial and industrial hardware, software and connectivity offerings, according to a March 14 statement. Servelec Technologies provides remote monitoring and control services, among others.

* Moroccan operator Maroc Telecom will acquire Millicom International Cellular SA's business in Chad, Tigo Chad. The transaction, which requires approval from authorities in Chad, is part of Millicom's plan to focus on expanding its operations in Latin America, according to a March 14 statement.

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