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Vivendi sells remaining Ubisoft stake; BC Partners closes United Group deal

S&P Global Market Intelligence provides a wrap-up of European media and communications deal announcements, completions and updates from March 4 to March 8.


* Vivendi SA sold the remaining 5.87% of its interest in video game publisher Ubisoft Entertainment SA for €429 million, representing a capital gain of €220 million. The French company's sale of its total stake in Ubisoft, which was about 27.27%, totals €2 billion, and a capital gain of €1.2 billion, according to a March 5 news release. Vivendi said it will refrain from purchasing Ubisoft shares for five years.

* BC Partners completed its previously announced acquisition of majority ownership of United Group BV, an independent media and communication services provider across southeast Europe, from global investment firm KKR & Co. According to a March 4 news release, KKR and United Group's management team will retain a substantial minority stake in United Group.

M&A media

* Accenture PLC agreed to acquire Hjaltelin Stahl K/S, a Copenhagen, Denmark-based creative agency. As part of the acquisition, Hjaltelin Stahl will form part of Accenture Interactive. Completion of the transaction is contingent on customary closing conditions.

* Venture capital firm SevenVentures GmbH, the investment unit of German media company ProSiebenSat.1 Media SE bought an approximately 14% stake in Friday Insurance SA. The acquisition will allow the Germany-based digital insurer to market its products to the media company's audience. Swiss insurance company Baloise Group, the majority owner of Friday, will also provide an additional €75 million to the company, alongside media investor GMPVC German Media Pool GmbH.

M&A communications

* Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd.-sponsored venture capital firm Samsung Next agreed to buy U.K.-based digital food platform Whisk. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions.

* Thales SA said its planned acquisition of Dutch digital security group Gemalto NV received regulatory clearance for U.S. antitrust approval. The clearance comes after a U.S. court approved the agreed settlement between Thales and U.S. regulators that requires the French aerospace and defense company to sell its general purpose hardware security module business to resolve competition concerns. The two companies have now obtained 12 of the required 14 regulatory approvals for the transaction, which they expect to close this month.

* Iberdrola SA agreed to transfer the right of use of part of its dark optical fiber network in Spain to Lyntia Networks SA for €260 million. Iberdrola España SA, Iberdrola Distribución Eléctrica SA and Iberdrola Generación SA, all subsidiaries of Iberdrola, will assign the right of use over the spare capacity the network to Lyntia "on an exclusive and long-term basis." Also as part of the deal, Lyntia will acquire the portfolio of contracts with clients with respect to the optical fiber that Iberdrola España has in place. The transaction is subject to compulsory approvals by the Spanish Antitrust Authority, according to a March 6 regulatory filing.

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