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Zee rejects Comcast bid; Vodafone settles unit sale; Apple CEO dispels rumors


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Zee rejects Comcast bid; Vodafone settles unit sale; Apple CEO dispels rumors


* Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd.'s promoters will sell up to an 11% stake in the company to Invesco Oppenheimer Developing Markets Fund, a U.S.-based investment company that already owns a 7.7% stake in Zee. The transaction will have a total consideration value of up to 42.24 billion Indian rupees. The transaction means Zee has rejected a nonbinding offer from a consortium led by Comcast Corp. to acquire a 51% stake in Zee for US$2.77 billion.

* Vodafone Group PLC completed the NZ$3.4 billion sale of its unit Vodafone New Zealand Ltd. to a consortium including infrastructure investment company Infratil Ltd. and Canada-based Brookfield Asset Management Inc. The transaction recently secured approval from the Overseas Investment Office and New Zealand's Commerce Commission. Vodafone will use the sale proceeds to pay down its net debt.

* Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook dismissed rumors that his company would implement major changes in where it manufactures its products, as the tech giant remains embroiled in ongoing trade uncertainties between the U.S. and China. News outlets had previously reported that the iPhone-maker was in talks with some of its key product assemblers, including Foxconn Technology Co. Ltd., Pegatron Corp. and Wistron Corp., to assess the cost of shifting production outside of China to Southeast Asia.


* SoftBank Group Corp. will invest US$15 million in a Colombian government-led fund that will promote startup and technology companies, Diario Financiero reported. The Colombian government will also make a US$15 million contribution in the fund, of which US$10 million will come from state-owned Banco de Comercio Exterior de Colombia SA. The remaining US$5 million will be provided by other public entities.

* Taiwan's Financial Supervisory Commission granted virtual bank licenses to consortiums led by LINE Financial Corp.'s Line Financial Taiwan Corp., Rakuten Inc. and Chunghwa Telecom, the Taipei Times reported July 31, citing Wellington Koo, the agency's chairman. Rakuten is partnering with IBF Financial Holdings Co. Ltd. for the planned virtual bank in Taiwan. Line Bank will focus on Line's own user base, while Chunghwa Telecom's Next Bank would target the telecom company's customers, according to Koo.

* NTT Docomo Inc. developed an application programming interface for its Docomo skyTM drone-operation platform. The Japanese company also used the API to integrate Docomo sky with NEXSYS-ONE's tower maintenance platform in a joint trial.


* Moody's revised its outlook on semiconductor products manufacturer SK hynix Inc. to negative from stable, citing the company's declining financial flexibility and uncertainty over its ability to generate free cash flow.

* U.S.-based Digital Realty Trust Inc. has agreed to acquire a 22,000-square-foot site from the Seoul Metropolitan Government to build a new data center in South Korea, which will have up to 12 megawatts of information technology capacity. The facility will be located within Sangam Digital Media City.


* Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. entered a partnership with China Construction Bank Corp. covering financial technology, consumer ecosystems and human resources development. The two entities will collaborate on cloud computing, big data, 5G, internet of things and artificial intelligence application.

* Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.'s cloud unit Alibaba Cloud Computing Co. signed a memorandum of understanding with Bank Muamalat Malaysia Bhd. to enable the Malaysian bank to use predictive analytics powered by big data and artificial intelligence-based technologies to help the bank better understand customer segmentation and preferences.

* ZTE Corp. reached a strategic cooperation agreement with China's Dadi Cinema Group to develop 5G technology in the interactive entertainment industry. The two will set up a creative entertainment laboratory and will develop marketing, project creation and payment solutions.


* Indian online marketplace Udaan is close to raising about US$500 million in a funding round led by Lightspeed Venture Partners and DST Global, The Economic Times (India) reported. New investors such as Hillhouse Capital Management Ltd. and Altimeter Capital Management LP may reportedly join the funding round, with Chinese internet giant Tencent Holdings Ltd. also in talks for a potential investment.

* Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd. is looking to raise US$1 billion in a bid to purchase telecom equipment and start a number of financial services, The Economic Times (India) reported. The telco is planning to raise the funding through offshore loans, which will be guaranteed by the Korea Trade Insurance Corp. to fund purchases from South Korean companies.

* Wipro Ltd. has appointed Rishad Premji as its chairman, The Economic Times (India) reported. He has taken over the role from his father Azim Premji, who will continue on the company's board.


* Thailand's National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission has affirmed that the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, through Krungthep Thanakom Co. Ltd., is in charge of managing the capital city's underground telecom cable conduits, Prachachat reported. The affirmation came after Thai telcos voiced their concerns about a possible monopoly of a third party contracted by Krungthep Thanakom.

* Indonesian pay TV services provider Nexmedia, which is owned by PT Mediatama Anugrah Citra, will stop operating, effective Aug. 31, Medcom reported. The company, which is part of media group PT Elang Mahkota Teknologi Tbk, has not officially stated a reason for the move.

* Denni Gautama, chief technology officer of PT. Traveloka Indonesia, has died, DealStreetAsia reported.


* EQT Mid Market Asia III, which is owned by Sweden-based EQT Partners AB, has agreed to acquire a majority stake in Nexon Asia Pacific Pty. Ltd., a cloud and managed service provider in Australia, for an undisclosed sum. The transaction will see Nexon co-founder and CEO Barry Assaf remaining a significant shareholder, while Nexon's existing management team will continue to lead the company.


The business case for protecting the technology behind 'deepfakes': As policymakers work to figure out the appropriate response to deepfakes, industry experts and executives note the technology stands to play an important role in the evolving digital media market, among other sectors.


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Nozomi Ibayashi, Emily Lai, Ed Eduard and Wil Hathaway contributed to this report. The Daily Dose has an editorial deadline of 7 a.m. Hong Kong time. Some external links may require a subscription. Links are current as of publication time, and we are not responsible if those links are unavailable later.