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China Tower files for HK IPO; Bharti Airtel, Telenor India complete merger

TOP NEWS

* Cellphone tower operator China Tower Corp. Ltd. filed an application for an IPO in Hong Kong, Reuters reports. The company, one of the world's largest operators of mobile phone towers, could raise as much as US$10 billion, sources with knowledge of the plans told Reuters, adding that China Tower is expected to aim for a valuation of up to US$40 billion. Earlier this month, Xiaomi Inc. also filed for an IPO in Hong Kong that could raise as much as US$10 billion.

* Bharti Airtel Ltd. completed its acquisition of Telenor India after securing all regulatory and statutory approvals. Airtel will now proceed to start integrating the Telenor ASA unit's operations across seven circles in India. With the merger completion, Airtel's mobile customer base in the country is now at over 330 million.

* Xerox Corp. is pulling out of its proposed US$6.1 billion sale to Fujifilm Holdings Corp. after reaching a deal with activist investors Carl Icahn and Darwin Deason, which will allow them to take control of the U.S. company.

* As authorities in China increasingly step up efforts to filter online content, industry experts have said that tech companies can expect more rules and regulations.

JAPAN

* Sony Music Entertainment (Japan) Inc., a unit of Sony Corp., reached an agreement to indirectly acquire 49% of Canadian media company DHX Media Ltd.'s 80% stake in the "Peanuts" franchise for C$237 million in cash. Under the deal, DHX Media will own 41% of Peanuts, SMEJ will own 39%, and the Schulz family will continue to own 20%. DHX Media and SMEJ also agreed to extend the duration of the current licensing and syndication agency agreement with SMEJ's consumer products division, Sony Creative Products Inc. in Japan.

* Hakuhodo Inc., a major Japanese advertising agency, partnered with China's Baidu Inc., combining its Chinese consumer data with Baidu's search data to help corporations create data-driven marketing solutions and media plans for the Chinese market.

* Nintendo Co. Ltd. said in a tweet through its U.S. unit, Nintendo of America, that its NES Classic Edition and SNES Classic Edition will return to stores on June 29. Both are expected to be available throughout the year. The consoles were hits for Nintendo last year until they were discontinued following an April announcement.

SOUTH KOREA

* SK Telecom Co. Ltd. and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. co-developed the next generation packet switching equipment, which categorizes traffic by service characteristics to minimize bottleneck, The Korea Economic Daily reports. The telco will deploy the equipment in the LTE networks in the second half of this year, with the aim of applying it to 5G networks when commercialized.

* LG Chem Ltd. started the mass production of its L-shaped "Free Form" battery for Apple Inc.'s next iPhone, ET News reports.

* Kakao Corp.'s character business arm Kakao Friends Corp. announced its merger with JOH, a design and branding company founded by its co-CEO Joh Su-yong, Yonhap News Agency reports.

CHINA, HONG KONG AND TAIWAN

* Baidu Inc. divested its integrated online-to-offline entertainment platform nuomi.com to its video streaming arm Iqiyi Inc. for US$200 million, Tencent News reports. According to a source close to the deal, nuomi.com has undergone internal restructuring and the two will cooperate in the future for technological and resources allocation.

* Lei Jun, CEO of smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi, issued an internal email revealing plans to set up an independent department for phone cameras, Sina reports. The new division will be set under the smartphone business and will be headed by director of electrical engineering Zhu Dan.

* Tencent Holdings Ltd. received approval from the Shenzhen Transportation Bureau and Shenzhen Police to test its autonomous, internet connected cars, Tencent News reports. The company is allowed to test drive its smart vehicles in designated roads in the city until August.

* Chinese AI company Iflytek Co. Ltd. is seeking to raise not more than 3.6 billion yuan to further develop its AI capabilities, including the smart voice recognition projects and AI robotics projects.

INDIA AND SOUTH ASIA

* Discovery Communications LLC India's Discovery Jeet channel has decided to cease original programming by the end of June, Television Post reports, citing a company spokesman. The channel will instead be offering fresh content from Discovery and from its latest acquisition, the Scripps Networks Interactive Inc. library.

* Epic Television Networks Pvt. Ltd. is planning to expand the footprint of its subscription video-on-demand service Epic On by striking distribution deals with telcos, original equipment manufacturers, VOD platforms, and other connected platforms, according to Television Post. The broadcaster is also working on creating original content for its SVOD service.

SOUTHEAST ASIA

* The Singapore Exchange Ltd. and the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange Ltd. will allow companies to list on both bourses at the same time, in a bid to attract more startups and provide a bridge between Israel's thriving tech scene and Asian markets. The exchanges will engage with companies that need funds to fuel their market expansions in Asia and beyond, assist them in the pre-listing stage and facilitate the listing process. The exchanges' network and platforms will also provide issuers with post-listing support, SGX said.

* Singapore-based automotive advertisement and car financing service startup Carro has raised a US$60 million series B round, Techcrunch reports. The investment was co-led by SoftBank Ventures Korea Inc., Insignia Ventures Partners, and Facebook Inc. Co-founder Eduardo Saverin's B Capital Group.

* Alphabet Inc.-owned Google Developers Launchpad, together with Indonesian startup ecosystem builder Kibar, launched a startup accelerator called Digitaraya, in Indonesia, detik.com reports. Digitaraya will be able to access Google's networks all over the world and its learning in operating startup programs in Silicon Valley, among others.

* Indonesian telco operator PT Indosat Tbk partnered with PT Solusi Pasti Indonesia (PayPro), an e-money service provider, enabling PayPro to take over all e-money operations that Indosat provides for its customers, while Indosat focuses on its core business of providing telco services, Indotelko reports, citing Indosat CEO Joy Wahjudi.

* Thai telco Advanced Info Service Public Co. Ltd. launched Net Condo No Contract, a new prepaid AIS Fibre service aimed at internet users who live in condominiums. The service has no signup or installation fee and is ready to use within 24 hours of purchasing.

* Thailand launched a new 15% capital gains tax on holdings and transfers of digital tokens and cryptocurrency, Krungthep Turakij reports. Under a related law, digital asset businesses have been given 90 days to seek permission from the authorities to continue trading. The move is designed to ensure effective financial oversight and combat fraud.

* Thailand's National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission will hold an auction of 259 auspicious cellphone numbers May 27, with prices starting from 150,000 baht, Thairath reports.

AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

* Australian Competition and Consumer Commission Chairman Rod Sims will investigate claims that Google is utilizing up to A$580 million worth of data every year, to spy on Australians and obtain personal data to sell targeted advertising, according to The Australian, citing tech experts from Oracle Corp.

* Telstra Corp. Ltd. stock plunged 3.4% after the company warned investors that its full-year EBITDA will probably be in the "bottom end" of previous forecasts, as "challenging trading conditions" are expected to stay, channelnews reports.

FEATURED NEWS

The Week Ahead: Samsung, Apple patent battle heads back to court: Samsung and Apple are heading back to court this week to decide how much Samsung should pay the technology giant for infringing on three design patents.

Data Dispatch: Disney studios tracking for blockbuster year on 'Infinity War', 'Black Panther': With "Infinity War" Disney now holds holds the record for nine of the 10 largest domestic box office openings of all time, CEO Bob Iger said.

FEATURED RESEARCH

Multichannel Trends: Q1'18 video declines abate, but pressure remains on traditional multichannel: Traditional multichannel video services illustrated modest improvement to the subscriber trends in first quarter 2018, notching smaller sequential losses on both an absolute and relative basis.

Joji Sakurai, Myungran Ha, Emily Lai, Ed Eduard and Patrick Tibke contributed to this report. The Daily Dose has an editorial deadline of 7 a.m. Hong Kong time. Some external links may require a subscription. Links are current as of publication time, and we are not responsible if those links are unavailable later.