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Asia-Pacific deals through Jan. 22: LeEco, Alibaba, Sony

The Asia-Pacific edition of M&A Replay presents a biweekly wrap-up of media and communications deal announcements, completions and updates in the region.

TOP NEWS

* Chinese tech and media company LeEco received a cash injection of about US$2.2 billion from property developer Sunac China Holdings Ltd., Reuters reported Jan. 13, citing a stock exchange filing. Sunac will pay 6.04 billion yuan for an 8.61% stake in LeEco unit Leshi Internet Information and Technology Corp. It is also paying 1.05 billion yuan for a 15% stake in LeEco's film production arm Leshi Pictures, and 7.95 billion yuan for a 33.5% stake in Leshi Zhixin, a Leshi Internet subsidiary involved in smart TVs.

* Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. offered to privatize Chinese retail store operator Intime Retail Co. Ltd. in a deal worth HK$19.8 billion, or about US$2.6 billion. Alibaba, which currently owns about 28% of the equity interests in Intime, will team up with an entity wholly owned by Intime Retail founder Shen Guo Jun to buy out Intime shareholders and take the company private, Alibaba unit Alibaba Investment Ltd. said Jan. 9.

* The Competition Commission of India has greenlit Sony Pictures Television Inc. unit Sony Pictures Networks India's US$385 million acquisition of Taj Television, Television Post reported Jan. 19. The sports broadcasting subsidiary of Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd. holds channels under the TEN Sports brand that operate in several countries. Sony Corp. is the parent company of Sony Pictures Television Inc.

MEDIA

* U.K.-based Aviva Plc agreed to sell 40% and 20% of its Hong Kong insurance subsidiary, respectively, to Chinese hedge fund Hillhouse Capital Group Holdings Ltd. and tech giant Tencent Holdings Ltd., according to a Jan. 20 press release. The companies did not disclose the deal size nor the expected completion date.

* Warburg Pincus LLC picked up a stake of about 14% in Indian cinema operator PVR Ltd. for 8.2 billion rupees, according to a Jan. 18 announcement. The New York-headquartered private equity firm acquired the stake from affiliates of Multiples Alternate Asset Management Pvt. Ltd., an India-focused private equity firm that will remain a long-term investor with an equity stake of 14%. PVR's current promoters will remain its largest shareholders, with more than a 20% stake.

* Financial technology company t0.com Inc., a majority-owned unit of Overstock.com Inc., bought the assets of Singapore-based Blue Ocean Financial Technology Pte. Ltd. to create Blue Ocean Technologies LLC, the company said Jan. 12. Financial terms were not disclosed. Blue Ocean will operate as a division of PRO Securities LLC, which is also a wholly owned subsidiary of t0.com.

* British music producer and TV personality Simon Cowell sold a 50% stake in Syco Holdings Ltd. to Sony Music Entertainment UK Ltd. for about £86.5 million, as part of a joint-venture deal extension agreed to in July 2015. Of the deal's total amount, Sony Music UK paid about £52.4 million in cash, with the remainder to be paid by 2021, the Daily Mail (U.K.) reported Jan. 10, citing accounts filed for the Sony Corp. unit. Syco Holdings is the investment vehicle for Syco Entertainment, a JV production company set up by Cowell and Sony in 2010.

* Sydney-based software company Atlassian is acquiring New York-based project management app maker Trello, the two companies announced in Jan. 9 blog posts. The majority of the US$425 million transaction will be paid in cash, with the remainder covered in restricted stock and options, Bloomberg News reported Jan. 9, citing Atlassian President Jay Simons.

COMMUNICATIONS

* India's Tata Communications Ltd. acquired a 35% share in Dutch mobile technology developer Teleena, Financieele Dagblad reported Jan. 22. Tata reportedly offered between €10 million and €20 million for the stake, which will be fully invested in Teleena's development.

* Singapore Technologies Electronics Ltd., or ST Electronics (Info-Software Systems), will become the majority stakeholder in Singaporean telco SP Telecommunications Pte Ltd. through a conditional share purchase agreement, The Business Times reported Jan. 18. The purchase consideration, which is estimated at S$54 million, will grant ST Electronics a majority stake of 51% in the telco.

* Japanese digital content and mobile communication services provider U-NEXT Co. Ltd. will establish a joint venture with Japanese consumer electronics retailer Yamada Denki Co. Ltd. to engage in mobile virtual network operator services, the company announced Jan. 17. U-Next and Yamada Denki will hold stakes of 51% and 49% in the new entity, respectively.

* Hungary's Magyar Telekom agreed to sell holdings in subsidiary Invitel Group to China's CEE Investment Co-operation Fund, the company announced Jan. 13. Approval from the company's 49% stakeholder Matel Holdings NV is being sought through consent request, while its 51% shareholder Mid Europa Partners LLP has given its support to the sale.