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European deals through Feb. 3: Mediawan, Hutchison, Orange

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


* Swisscom AG unit Fastweb SpA filed an appeal with the Court of Justice of the European Union, seeking to invalidate the merger of VimpelCom Ltd. and CK Hutchison Holdings Ltd.'s Italian units, Telecompaper reported Feb. 1, citing Il Sole 24 Ore and Fastweb cites the absence of a fully transparent market test by the European Commission to check whether the offered concession will be able to compete on the Italian market.

M&A Media

* The insolvency administrator of German internet company Unister reported the sale of news portal to a "medium-sized family enterprise," Meedia reported Feb. 3. Unister filed for bankruptcy in 2016 after its founder Thomas Wagner died.

* London-based weekly The Irish Post, which caters to the Irish community in the U.K., said Feb. 2 that it struck a deal to acquire the assets of diaspora broadcaster Irish TV, which was ordered liquidated by the Irish High Court. The acquisition will include the Irish TV brand as well as its business databases, website domains, social media accounts and video content library. The deal is subject to the approval of Ireland's Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, and the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources.

* CITIC Telecom International CPC Ltd., a unit of Hong Kong's CITIC Telecom International Holdings Ltd., said Feb. 2 that it completed the acquisition of the telecom branch of Amsterdam-based Linx Telecommunications BV. The acquisition includes Linx's submarine fiber network in the Baltic Sea; its network operations centers in Moscow, Russia, and Tallinn, Estonia; and a data center in Tallinn. Linx team members affected by the deal have joined CITIC Telecom CPC.

* French special purpose acquisition company Mediawan offered to acquire 100% of the outstanding shares of TV content distributor and aggregator Groupe AB for about €270 million, according to a Jan. 30 news release. Mediawan intends to partly finance the proposed acquisition by raising €130 million in debt. The French acquisition company's shareholders are scheduled to vote on the transaction on March 13.

* Mediaset SpA's majority shareholder Fininvest denied rumors of a secret deal with Vivendi SA regarding Mediaset Premium, Telecompaper reported Jan. 30, citing a company statement. Vivendi and Fininvest are said to be considering forming a holding company, which could also involve Orange SA and Italian state lender Cassa Depositi e Prestiti, according to unnamed sources mentioned by Il Fatto Quotidiano.

M&A Communications

* Swedish biometrics company Fingerprint Cards AB said Feb. 1 that it acquired U.S. company Delta ID for $106 million. Delta ID has developed an iris scan system for use in mobile phones, laptops and vehicles.

* Telia Co. AB said Feb. 1 that it agreed to acquire Swedish tech company Fält Communications AB, which provides connected public transportation solutions across the Nordics region. Fältcom offers mobile platforms for buses and speed cameras. The deal is expected to be completed within February.

* Telia's Lithuanian operations have been collectively referred to as Telia Lietuva AB since Feb. 1, according to a post on the latter's website. The name change follows the merger of TEO LT AB, mobile operator Omnitel and data center business Baltic Data Center.

* MásMóvil Ibercom SA completed its purchase of mobile brand Llamaya from More Minutes Comunications SL for €29.7 million, Reuters reported Jan. 31, citing a company statement. The deal also includes a variable payment of up to €12 million, payable sometime within the 2018-2019 period, following certain operating conditions.

* The Spanish unit of Italian telematics provider Viasat Group took a majority stake in Madrid-based company MobileFleet, Telecompaper reported Jan. 30. MobileFleet offers fleet monitoring, vehicle security and GPS services to customers in Spain and Latin America.