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Uber fires head of Asia Pacific; KKR offers to buy Vocus Group


According to Market Intelligence, December 2022


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Uber fires head of Asia Pacific; KKR offers to buy Vocus Group


* KKR & Co. LP made a preliminary and nonbinding proposal to acquire Australian telecom company Vocus Group Ltd. for $3.50 per share in cash. The private equity firm's offer assumes Vocus Group's net debt as of June 30 will not be greater than A$1.1 billion and that the company's EBITDA for 12 months ending June 30 will be in line with the expected guidance of A$365 million to A$375 million.

* Eric Alexander, Uber Technologies Inc.'s president of business for Asia Pacific, was fired following an internal investigation into sexism and sexual harassment at Uber, Recode reports. Alexander reportedly obtained medical records of a woman who had been raped during a ride in India and shared its details with several Uber executives, including CEO Travis Kalanick and Senior Vice President Emil Michael. Alexander's handling of the situation was among the 215 cases reported in the investigation, following which Uber has fired more than 20 employees.

* Toshiba Corp. is likely to name the winning bidder for its prized semiconductor business on June 15 following a board meeting next week, people familiar with the matter told Reuters. Meanwhile, Toshiba reportedly warned manufacturing partner Western Digital Corp. to stop its "harassment" as the Japanese company tries to sell its flash memory business, adding that the value of the joint venture is less than 5% of the Japanese company’s chip business, Bloomberg News reports.

* Chinese online retailers are increasingly shaping China's offline retail industry, growing their physical retail presence. Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.'s recent 18% stake acquisition in Shanghai-based Lianhua Supermarket Holdings Co. Ltd., highlights that e-commerce retailers are actively pursuing growth beyond their slowing online business.


* Japan's three major mobile operators, NTT DOCOMO Inc, KDDI Corp. and SoftBank Corp., plan to invest a combined ¥5 trillion into 5G technology, with DoCoMo targeting a nationwide coverage in 2023, The Nikkei reports. All three companies plan to begin offering 5G wireless communication initially in parts of Tokyo and other areas in time for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.

* Yahoo Japan Corp., a joint venture between Yahoo! Inc. and SoftBank Group Corp., has invested in The Venture Reality Fund, which is focused on technologies and applications for virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality, VentureBeat reports. The investment amount was not disclosed.

* NTT Communications Corp., the network management arm of Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp., said president and CEO of NTT Singapore Pte. Ltd. Takeshi Kazami would resign June 30 to be replaced by Naoki Wakai who currently serves at NTT Europe Ltd.

* NEC Corp., alongside its Indian subsidiary NEC Technologies India Ltd., established an analytics center in India to promote big data analysis services in India as well as globally. The company is aiming to achieve ¥100 billion in revenue from the center in three years. The Japanese tech firm invested US$10 million for the launch, The Economic Times (India) reports.

* Japan Display Inc. said it was delaying its planned investment in organic light-emitting diode panel maker JOLED Inc. for a year as it struggles with finances. The company now aims to reach an agreement by late June 2018, with the purchase date yet to be determined.

* In other NTT Com news, the company partnered with U.S. NantWorks and Ethernet-based cloud networking services provider PacketFabric Inc. to expand NTT Com's IP transit services across PacketFabric's network in 130 locations throughout the U.S.

* Huis Ten Bosch, a Dutch-themed amusement park in Nagasaki, Japan, said that it will open a virtual reality facility SHIBUYA VR LAND by HUIS TEN BOSCH in Tokyo on June 24. It will feature five VR contents including 'Ultra Reverse Bungee.'


* Lotte Cinema and Megabox Cineplex Inc. joined CJ CGV in refusing to screen Netflix Inc.'s fantasy drama "Okja" at their theaters, Variety reports. The move is in response to the streaming giant's plan for a day-and-date cinematic and online release, which the theater chains claim disrupts the distribution ecosystem in South Korea.

* Kakao Corp. is investing 4 billion South Korean won in robotics module company Luxrobo Co. Ltd. and 5 billion South Korean won in mobile game developer YD Online Corp., Yonhap News Agency reports. The South Korean internet company said that the investment in Luxrobo is aimed at creating a synergy effect in various fields of new technologies, including robotics and artificial intelligence, and the one in YD Online also involves a publishing contract of three of its games.

* South Korean video streaming and video-on-demand platform POOQ plans to go public in the near future to finance the high-resolution video service and additional content acquisition, The Seoul Economic Daily reports. One of the stakeholders of the service reportedly said that the move will help make the company take the lead in the online video market.

* SK Broadband developed a new transmission technology called Switched Digital Video, which allows for the efficient use of limited frequency resources in a hybrid fiber-coaxial network, to expand the real-time channels for ultra-high-definition broadcasting on its video platform Btv, ZDNet Korea reports. The company reportedly claimed that this is the first time that the technology is applied to the IPTV service.


* BBC Worldwide Ltd. struck a deal with Alibaba-owned video streaming platform Youku that will see five of BBC Earth's Giant Screen films available on TV channels and mobile devices in China. According to Variety, "Earthflight," "Incredible Predators," "Tiny Giants," "Walking with Dinosaurs" and "Wild Africa" will be available on Youku's digital platforms in HD.

* Tencent Holdings Ltd. bought a 7.7% stake in Coocaa, a smart TV division of the Chinese TV maker Skyworth, for 300 million Chinese yuan, Caixin reports. The investment will help Tencent further promote its content through Coocaa's internet TVs, and for Coocaa to gain more customers.

* Jia Yueting, former CEO of LeEco, will be appointed the president of LeEco's global auto unit, Yicai reports. Jia's major responsibilities include fundraising and building an international management team.

* Yang Jiawei resigned from China Telecom Corp Ltd. as its general manager, Beijing Business Today reports. Yang will be transferred by the central government to China's Administration of Cyberspace, but his new position is unknown.


* Thai satellite operator Thaicom Public Co. Ltd. struck a deal with Huawei Technologies (Thailand) Co. Ltd. and Starcor Media Technologies Ltd. to develop an over-the-top ecosystem for Thailand, The Nation reports. Services will include TV streaming and on-demand videos.

* Singapore-based cloud communication platform service provider Wavecell Pte Ltd. said it raised US$8.15 million, or S$11.3 million, from its Series B funding. The funding mostly came from venture capital firms Qualgro and MDI Ventures.

* Thailand's National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission will implement complaint-based, instead of censorship-based, regulatory framework to govern over-the-top content, the Bangkok Post reports. The decision came after the NBTC met with OTT content creators earlier this week.

* PT Indosat Tbk, an Indonesian telco also known as Indosat Ooredoo, plans to establish a network sharing agreement with local telco PT Telekomunikasi Selular or Telkomsel in two Indonesian provinces, Liputan 6 reports. The agreement is aimed to reduce the capital expenditures and operational costs for both companies.


* As expected, Foxtel rebranded its video streaming platform Foxtel Play into Foxtel Now, which will feature five entry level packs starting from A$10, according to Australia's The Daily Telegraph.

* Australian software company ELMO will make its ASX debut on June 29 to raise A$25 million at A$2 per share, the Australian Financial Review reports. After the listing, the management and initial investors will retain nearly 77% of all shares, which will be escrowed for two years from the float.

* Dropbox, Inc. is boosting its investment in Australia and New Zealand by establishing a new point-of-presence in Sydney, which will make uploads up to 100% faster and downloads up to 50% faster for local customers, according to The Australian.

* Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) (AU) is shutting down its comedy website The Backburner as part of an internal restructure, The Sydney Morning Herald reports.


* As expected, Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. confirmed that it will double the production capacity for smartphones and fridges at its Noida factory in India. The Samsung Group unit said it will spend nearly 49 billion rupees over the next two years in the Noida plant, and that the investment will create thousands of new jobs.

* The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India is urging mobile operators to introduce at least one internet data pack that will be valid for 365 days, Business Standard reports. The regulator believes that data packs with longer validity would attract first-time data users, by eliminating the need to charge at regular intervals.

* Inc.'s Prime Video service is set to premiere its first original Indian series, "Inside Edge," a sports drama which follows a cricket-related betting scandal, Mint wrote.

* Sony Pictures Networks India, or SPNI, is partnering with ESPN Inc. to launch ESPN Films, a series of documentary movies featuring original sports stories, on June 11, Television Post reports. Meanwhile, SPNI-owned streaming service SonyLIV will add seven Web Talkies original series to its web and mobile platforms, according to Exchange4Media.


'Risks too great' to ignore cyber threats for connected devices, expert warns: Bruce Schneier, a security expert and special adviser to IBM Security, said government intervention is needed to help streamline and enforce security standards for the many connected devices in homes, offices and public spaces.

The Daily Dose: Hackers declare war on Hollywood with new threats; Fox unit buys game developer: A group of hackers behind the premature release of ABC's "Steve Harvey's Funderdome" and episodes from the fifth season of Netflix Inc.'s "Orange Is the New Black" claims to have more content, while a Fox unit acquired a mobile games developer.

The Daily Dose Europe: Vivendi to buy Havas stake; Vivendi Italia to launch in June: Vivendi SA entered into an agreement to acquire the Bolloré Group's 60% stake in Havas Group, while Vivendi Italia is eyed for launch in late June.


Economics of TV & Film: Walt Disney goes 2-for-2 with profitable May film releases: The tough times at the box office translated into less-than-stellar results in this month's film profit projections for nearly every distributor not named Walt Disney.

Multichannel Trends: Mapping the top US broadband provider footprints: Kagan, a media research group within S&P Global Market Intelligence, presents its first national maps of the top U.S. broadband provider footprints, based on MediaCensus residential broadband data as of March 31.

Nozomi Ibayashi, Myungran Ha, Frances Wang, Wil Hathaway and Kevin Osmond 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.