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Seven West buys minority stake in Prime Media; Sony unit buys Silvergate Media

S&P Global Market Intelligence provides a wrap-up of Asia-Pacific media and communications deal announcements, completions and updates from Dec. 1 to Dec. 23.

Top News

* Seven West Media Ltd. acquired 54,594,367 shares in Prime Media Group Ltd., representing a 14.9% stake in the company, in exchange for the issue of 30 million new shares in Seven West. The news comes after shareholders of Prime Media voted on the proposed merger between the Australian broadcasters, which was not approved by the requisite majorities.

* Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc. company Sony Pictures Television Inc. acquired animation producer Silvergate Media Holdings Ltd. from its management team and private equity firm Shamrock Capital Advisors LLC. Under the deal, Sony Pictures Entertainment purchased 100% of Silvergate Topco, whose assets include Silvergate's 49% interest in a joint venture with Dalian Wanda Group Co Ltd., through a subsidiary for about US$195 million.

* FUJIFILM Holdings Corp. subsidiary Fujifilm Corp. agreed to acquire Hitachi Ltd.'s diagnostic imaging-related unit to expand its healthcare business for an estimated ¥179 billion. The deal is expected to complete in July 2020, subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals.

Technology

* China's Tencent Holdings Ltd. hiked its stake in New York-listed online retailer Vipshop Holdings Ltd. to 9.6% through a series of open market transactions from Nov. 25 to Dec. 13. Tencent Mobility Ltd. purchased an aggregate of 6,472,841 American depositary shares in Vipshop for about US$84.2 million.

* Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. acquired a 7.45% stake in Hangzhou-based cloud computing company, Harmony Cloud, for 18 million yuan.

* Singaporean fashion platform Zilingo Pte Ltd. acquired Sri Lanka-based software-as-a-service startup nCinga innovations in a cash-and-stock deal worth US$15.5 million, TechCrunch.com reports. Zilingo will deploy nCinga's manufacturing execution system software across its network of 6,000 factories and 75,000 businesses.

* Indian digital education platform Embibe purchased 90.5% equity shares in local education technology company Funtoot for a cash consideration of approximately 716.4 million Indian rupees. Subject to Funtoot achieving agreed milestones, Embibe plans to fully acquire Funtoot by purchasing additional equity shares worth up to 100 million rupees.

* Tokyo-based medical technology company HOYA Corp. plans to make an offer for NuFlare Technology Inc. if the latter's parent Toshiba Corp. does not successfully complete its tender offer to fully own the unit.

* SoftBank Vision Fund LP agreed to sell its nearly 50% stake in Wag Labs Inc. back to the U.S. startup, The Wall Street Journal reports, citing sources. SoftBank decided to take a writedown on its investment and cut losses after Wag Labs' discussions for a potential sale did not push forward.

Media

* Reliance Industries Ltd. unit Reliance Industrial Investments and Holdings Ltd. sealed a deal to sell the tower arm of its mobile unit Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd to Brookfield Infrastructure Partners LP for 252.15 billion Indian rupees. The companies entered into binding agreements for Brookfield and its institutional partners to acquire 100% of the equity in Reliance Jio Infratel Private Ltd., which operates about 130,000 towers.

* SKY Network Television Ltd. agreed to conditionally acquire streaming service Lightbox from Spark New Zealand Ltd. The deal will allow Sky to merge Lightbox with its own streaming platform Neon. Subject to the customary commercial, legal and regulatory approvals, the deal is expected to close in the next few months.

* Australian Radio Network Pty Ltd. is selling its sports platform The Roar to athlete content provider AthletesVoice. The deal, financial terms of which were not disclosed, will be effective Dec. 31. The sale comes as ARN and its parent company HT&E Ltd. increasingly divest their non-audio assets, according to Mumbrella.

* WPP AUNZ Ltd. sold its stake in the Kantar Australian and New Zealand businesses to WPP PLC. This comes as U.S.-based private equity firm Bain Capital LP completed its purchase of a 60% stake in The Kantar Group Ltd. from WPP.

* Accenture PLC acquired privately held Australian consultancy company Apis Group for an undisclosed amount. Based in Canberra, Apis Group provides advisory services, project management, business and digital design services for federal public service organizations.

Telecommunication

* NTT Docomo Inc.'s board approved the company's plan to acquire the shares it did not already own in docomo Healthcare Inc. from Omron Healthcare Co. Ltd. The Japanese operator would make the share purchase Jan. 28, 2020. NTT intends to absorb docomo Healthcare as a wholly owned unit through a simplified merger, effective April 1, 2020.

* Cisco Systems Inc. plans to acquire Australia-based network devices manufacturer Exablaze. The transaction is expected to close in the fiscal third quarter of 2020.

* HKBN Ltd. completed its acquisition of Jardine OneSolution Holdings (C.I.) Ltd. and its subsidiaries from JTH (BVI) Ltd. for US$50 million in cash. The closing comes after HKBN voted in favor of the acquisition at its Dec. 12 extraordinary general meeting.

* Vodafone Idea Ltd. denied media reports that it is in talks with Brookfield Asset Management Inc. and Edelweiss Financial Services Ltd. for the sale of its optic fiber business and data center. The statement came after The Economic Times (India) cited sources to report that Vodafone Idea was in talks to sell its 156,000 kilometers of optic fiber assets and Navi Mumbai data center to raise funds ahead of a January 2020 deadline to pay statutory dues.

* United Networks Ltd. completed the purchase of two telecommunications service provider companies, Symmetry Networks Pty Ltd. and NextCom for a total maximum cash consideration of A$340,000. The Australian telco purchased Symmetry Networks from MNF Group Ltd., and NextCom from NextCom Pty. Ltd. Both companies will be merged with United Networks' other service provider businesses.

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