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Asia-Pacific: Vodafone Australia, TPG to merge; Airtel to sell stake in DTH arm

S&P Global Market Intelligence provides a wrap-up of Asia-Pacific media and communications deal announcements, completions and updates from Aug. 20 to Sept. 2.

TOP NEWS

* Australian carriers Vodafone Hutchison Australia Pty Ltd., or VHA, and TPG Telecom Ltd. have agreed to merge, Vodafone Group PLC announced Aug. 30. As part of the deal, Vodafone Group and Hutchison Telecommunications (Australia) Ltd., or HTAL, will each own a 25.05% economic interest while the remaining 49.9% will stay with TPG. The merged entity, to be called TPG Telecom Ltd., will have an enterprise value of around A$15 billion, combined revenues worth A$6 billion, and will be listed on the Australian Securities Exchange.

* India's Bharti Airtel Ltd. received foreign direct investment clearance from the government to allow the company to offload a combined 20% stake in its direct-to-home arm Bharti Telemedia Ltd. to private equity firm Warburg Pincus LLC for US$350 million. As per the terms of the deal, which was announced in December 2017, Airtel will sell 15% of its stake in Bharti Telemedia, and the balance will be sold by another Bharti entity that holds 5% in the company.

* In other Vodafone Group news, the telecom giant said the merger of Vodafone India with Idea Cellular Ltd. is complete. A combined new entity, Vodafone Idea Ltd., will stay listed on Indian stock exchanges and brings together almost 408 million customers. The new entity is expected to topple Bharti Airtel as India's top mobile carrier.

* ASX-listed SpeedCast International Ltd. agreed to buy Globecomm Systems Inc. from affiliates of private equity firms HPS Investment Partners LLC, Tennenbaum Capital Partners LLC and other members of Globecomm. The deal has an estimated net purchase consideration of US$135 million.

TECHNOLOGY

* Japanese semiconductor maker Renesas Electronics Corp. confirmed that it is considering an acquisition of U.S. semiconductor manufacturer Integrated Device Technology Inc. as part of an expansion effort. Nikkei Asian Review reported that the Japanese chipmaker and IDT are in negotiations on a deal that could be worth more than US$6 billion.

* Japan's Rakuten Inc. agreed to acquire the entire stake in Tokyo-based cryptocurrency exchange everybody's bitcoin Inc. for a consideration of ¥265 million. Rakuten will acquire 5,100 shares of everybody's bitcoin through its subsidiary, Rakuten Card Co. Ltd. The group will acquire the shares from the exchange's parent company, Traders Investment Inc.

* Amazon Payments, Inc. acquired Indian personal assistant platform Tapzo in a US$40 million to US$45 million deal, The Economic Times (India) reported Aug. 29. Amazon Pay is a unit of internet giant Amazon.com Inc.

* Indonesian ride-hailing company PT Go-Jek Indonesia is reportedly in discussions with Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com Inc. to buy a stake in JD's finance operations in Indonesia, Deal Street Asia reported Aug. 27.

* Flipkart India Pvt. Ltd. confirmed that it acquired Indian artificial intelligence startup Liv.ai, but did not disclose the value of the deal, Mint reported Aug. 22. Founded in 2015, Liv.ai converts speech to text in 10 Indian languages, including Hindi, Bengali, Punjabi and Marathi.

* Japanese advertising company Dentsu Inc. agreed Aug. 20 to acquire Australian cloud consulting and technical services provider Amicus Digital Ventures Pty Ltd. via its U.K. arm Dentsu Aegis Network Ltd.

MEDIA

* Australian advertising company QMS Media Ltd. said Aug. 30 it will acquire the majority interests of digital agencies TGI Systems Corp. and TGI Europe GmbH for a total investment of A$40 million. The transaction is expected to be completed by the fourth quarter of 2018.

* SoftBank Group Corp.-backed media developer Buzzvil Co.,Ltd. said Aug. 30 that it acquired India and Pakistan's lockscreen content curator SlideApp. Financial terms were not disclosed.

* CJ ENM CO. Ltd.'s cable broadcasting subsidiary CJ Hello has begun its due diligence of D'Live, a multisystem operator that CJ Hello plans to acquire, Digital Times reported Aug. 22.

* India-based media company Silly Monks Entertainment Ltd. purchased a 51% stake in Chintala Sports Pvt. Ltd. for an undisclosed sum, Television Post reported Aug. 20.

TELECOMMUNICATIONS

* India's Reliance Communications Ltd., or RCom, concluded the sale of its fiber assets worth 30 billion Indian rupees to Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd., according to a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange.

* In other RCom news, the telco completed the sale of its media convergence nodes, or MCNs, and related infrastructure assets to Reliance Jio.

* Singtel is considering a possible bid for Sydney-based mobile operator amaysim Australia Ltd., Bloomberg News reported Aug. 21. The Singaporean telco reportedly appointed Bank of America Corp. to assess the company's options.

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