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European deals: Liberty Global sells Austrian biz; NJJ Telecom, Iliad to buy eir


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European deals: Liberty Global sells Austrian biz; NJJ Telecom, Iliad to buy eir

S&P Global Market Intelligence provides a wrap-up of European media and communications deal announcements, completions and updates from Dec. 18 to Dec. 26.


* Liberty Global plc said Dec. 21 that it struck a deal to sell its UPC Austria GmbH business to Deutsche Telekom AG unit T-Mobile Austria GmbH for a total enterprise value of about €1.9 billion, subject to debt and working capital adjustments. Under the agreement, the cable giant will provide several transitional services to T-Mobile Austria, mainly those related to network and IT functions, for up to four years. It will also allow T-Mobile Austria to use the UPC brand for up to three years. The merged entity is expected to step up competition with larger Austrian operators such as Telekom Austria Group's A1 Telekom Austria, Liberty Global CEO Mike Fries said. Deal completion is expected in the second half of 2018, subject to regulatory approval.

* A consortium led by NJJ Group's NJJ Telecom Europe, together with Iliad SA, has agreed to acquire a majority stake in Irish telco eir Group plc for about €3.5 billion, according to a Dec. 20 news release. NJJ, which is the private investment firm of French investor Xavier Niel, will own 32.9% of the Irish operator, while Iliad will own 31.6%. An investor group including Anchorage Capital Group LLC, Davidson Kempner Capital Management LP and GIC currently owns eir. Following the completion of the deal, Anchorage Capital and Davidson Kempner will retain a combined 35.5% share in the company, at 26.6% and 8.9%, respectively. Iliad will have an option to acquire 80% of NJJ's stake in eir, which can be exercised in 2024. The transaction is anticipated to close in the first half of 2018. Some 45 senior eir employees will share €100 million in exchange for selling their shares in the company as part of the deal, Dublin's The Irish Times reported Dec. 21, citing sources.

M&A Media

* Russian search engine Yandex NV acquired local food-delivery company Foodfox, Bloomberg News reported Dec. 25, citing a company statement.

* London-based Dentsu Aegis Network Ltd. agreed to acquire 100% of U.S. digital media and marketing agency David Wood & Associates Inc. The acquisition of DWA is expected to give a boost to data marketing firm Merkle Inc., in which Dentsu Aegis acquired a majority stake in 2016. Post-deal completion, DWA employees will join Merkle and the former will be rebranded "DWA, a Merkle company," Merkle said Dec. 19. Dentsu Aegis Network is the global business hub of Japanese advertising conglomerate Dentsu Inc.

* Swiss media group Tamedia AG said Dec. 22 that it reached a deal to take over Goldbach Group AG for CHF 35.50 per share, as part of a strategic partnership. The acquisition also includes Goldbach's subsidiaries such as TV marketing company Goldbach Media (Switzerland) AG and digital advertising marketing company Goldbach Audience (Switzerland) AG.

* The Belgian Competition Authority approved De Persgroep NV's takeover of Medialaan, which consists of VTM, Q2, Vitaya, Q-music and JOE fm, De Tijd reported Dec. 22.

* ProSiebenSat.1 Media SE said Dec. 21 that it is selling all shares in COMVEL GmbH, which runs travel portal, to online travel group NV.

M&A Communications

* Sky plc should seek a higher offer from 21st Century Fox Inc. following the latter's about $52.4 billion deal with Walt Disney Co., Reuters reported Dec. 18, citing Sky shareholder and hedge fund manager Crispin Odey. For Odey, Fox's £11.7 billion acquisition offer for the British company is an undervaluation now that Fox's 39% stake in Sky has become a part of the assets being sold to Disney. The closing of the Fox/Sky deal is anticipated to take place in June 2018, given the deal receives regulatory approvals.

* Liberty Global unit UPC Romania acquired cable operator Eniasan for about €3 million, Broadband TV News reported Dec. 19, citing ZF. Eniasan is based in Motru town and serves customers in Romania's Gorj and Mehedinti counties.