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Asia-Pacific: SoftBank takes Charter stake; Tencent buys into production company

S&P Global Market Intelligence provides a biweekly wrap-up of Asia-Pacific media and communications deal announcements, completions and updates from March 6 to March 19.

TOP NEWS

* SoftBank Group Corp. quietly acquired a nearly 5% stake in Charter Communications Inc. in a transaction led by SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son, The Times (London) reported March 11, citing sources. The move could possibly increase the possibility of a US$100 billion merger between Charter and SoftBank-owned Sprint Corp.

* Tencent Holdings Ltd. acquired 27.64% of TV and film producer New Classics Media Corp. for 3.32 billion Chinese yuan from Beijing Enlight Media Co. Ltd., according to a March 12 filing. Tencent will become the second-largest shareholder, with veteran producer Cao Huayi remaining as largest shareholder with a 33.3% stake.

TECHNOLOGY

* U.S. construction project management software developer InEight Inc. on March 19 said it will acquire Australia-based QA Software Pty. Ltd. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

* SoftBank Group unit SoftBank Group International GK is hiking its shareholding in Grofers International Pte Ltd. unit Grofers India Pvt. Ltd. to as much as 40% by investing US$40 million into the Indian online grocery platform, Times News Network reported March 16.

* Wipro Ltd., an India-based IT, consulting and business process services provider, on March 14 said it agreed to divest its hosted data center services business to Ensono for US$405 million.

* Wipro on March 10 said it completed its investment in U.S.-based security software provider Denim Group Ltd.

MEDIA

* Digital football business Dugout Ltd. agreed to acquire News Corp.'s mobile and online platform ballball, according to a March 13 press release.

* Singtel, through its unit Singtel International Investments Pvt. Ltd., completed a deal to purchase 85,450,000 new equity shares in Bharti Telecom Ltd., with the Singaporean telco paying 26.5 billion Indian rupees in an all-cash transaction, according to a March 12 news release.

* Fairfax Media Ltd. said March 6 that the merger agreement between its New Zealand business Stuff Ltd. and NZME Ltd. has been terminated.

TELECOMMUNICATIONS

* China's Ant Financial Services Group struck a deal to take a 45% stake in Norwegian mobile operator Telenor ASA's Telenor Microfinance Bank. The Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. affiliate will invest US$184.5 million into the Pakistan-based lender, according to a March 13 statement.

* Philippine telco giant PLDT Inc. said March 12 that it is considering plans to sell its stake in Rocket Internet SE to supplement funding requirements in 2018.

* India's National Company Law Tribunal on March 8 approved the merger of Bharti Airtel Ltd. with Telenor India.

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