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European deals through Dec. 10: Microsoft, América Móvil, LinkedIn

The European edition of M&A Replay presents a weekly wrap-up of European media and communications deal announcements, completions and updates.


* Microsoft Corp. on Dec. 8 completed its acquisition of LinkedIn Corp. in an all-cash deal worth about $26 billion. LinkedIn will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Microsoft.

* Earlier, the European Commission conditionally approved Microsoft's acquisition of LinkedIn, after the tech giant submitted a number of concessions, according to a Dec. 6 news release. The EC was concerned whether the deal will, among others, allow Microsoft to pre-install LinkedIn on all Windows PCs and lock out rivals from accessing Microsoft's application programming interfaces. In response, Microsoft promised that PC makers and distributors will not be compelled to pre-install LinkedIn on Windows, and that users can easily uninstall LinkedIn in case it is pre-installed. Microsoft will also allow LinkedIn's rivals to maintain current levels of interoperability with Microsoft's Office suite of products.

M&A Media

* Germany-based online food delivery service Delivery Hero agreed to acquire its rival Foodpanda, Reuters reported Dec. 10, citing a company statement. Delivery Hero said that it will fund the transaction by issuing new shares.

* Daily Mail and General Trust plc, publisher of British newspapers Daily Mail and The Mail on Sunday, said Dec. 8 that it will reduce its stake in financial publisher Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC to about 49%. As part of the transaction, DMGT will sell about 13.0 million Euromoney shares, or 10.2% of the latter's share capital, at £9.75 per share, according to a Dec. 9 update. Euromoney will also buy back 19.2 million of its own shares, equivalent to a 15% holding, also at £9.75 per share.

* Vivendi SA exceeded the 25% legal threshold of the share capital in French video game publisher Ubisoft, according to a Dec. 7 news release. Vivendi now holds 25.15% of Ubisoft's share capital and 22.92% of its voting rights.

* Echo TV owner Gábor Széles sold the Hungarian TV channel to a company owned by Felcsút Mayor Lorinc Mészáros, a close associate of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, the Budapest Business Journal reported Dec. 5. Széles said Echo TV needs an investment of 1.5 billion Hungarian forints for equipment upgrades, wage hikes and employee recruitment.

* Polish media entrepreneur Michal Winnicki acquired a 51% stake in Nowa Media, which operates TV channel TVR, Broadband TV News reported Dec. 5, citing An investment fund bought the other 49% of Nowa Media.

M&A Communications

* China's Fujian Grand Chip Investment withdrew its offer to acquire German chipmaker Aixtron SE, shortly after U.S. President Barack Obama blocked the deal for national security reasons, the Financial Times of London reported Dec. 8. Fujian said the offer lapsed because it was not able to secure the approval it needed from Obama or the U.S. Committee on Foreign Investment, which was a condition of the deal. Meanwhile, Shen Danyang, spokesman for China's Ministry of Commerce, criticized the U.S. for blocking the €670 million acquisition, Reuters reported Dec. 9.

* Telekom Austria Group, via its unit Vipnet, agreed to acquire a majority stake in Croatian operator Metronet telekomunikacije, according to a Dec. 8 news release. The deal is expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2017. Telekom Austria is owned by América Móvil SAB de CV.

* Vivendi recently bought 117.9 million shares in Telecom Italia SpA, raising its stake in the telco to 24.19%, Reuters reported Dec. 6.

* Infrastructure funds owned by Swedish private equity group EQT agreed to acquire Delta NV unit Delta Retail, an energy and multimedia provider based in the Dutch province of Zeeland, for €488 million, Delta said Dec. 6. The acquisition will include the DELTA and Zeelandnet brand names, with DELTA Retail remaining as an independent company.

* Portuguese conglomerate Visabeira sold its 95% stake in Fibroglobal, a fiber optic network company that it formed with Altice NV's PT Portugal in 2010, Telecompaper reported Dec. 6, citing Público. PT Portugal will retain a 5% holding in Fibroglobal.

* TDC A/S' business arm TDC Erhverv acquired Danish cloud service company Adactit, TDC said Dec. 5. The deal does not require regulatory clearance.

* Fastweb SpA said Dec. 5 that it struck a deal to acquire Tiscali SpA's business branch for €45 million. The Swisscom AG unit also agreed to lease Tiscali's 3.5 GHz spectrum in major Italian cities for the deployment of a mobile data network, for a leasing fee of €12.5 million for the first five years.

* Funds managed by EQT agreed to acquire Norwegian company AutoStore from Jakob Hatteland Holding AS and other minority owners, according to a Dec. 2 news release. AutoStore offers an automated storage and retrieval system that relies on robotics.