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Tele2 to sell stake in JV; Zynga to buy Finnish mobile game studio

In this monthly Best of Nordics feature, S&P Global Market Intelligence provides a roundup of recent market developments in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland and Iceland.

TOP NEWS

* Swedish telecom operator Tele2 AB is exercising an option to sell its stake in its joint venture in Kazakhstan to its venture partner, fixed-line operator Kazakhtelecom, according to a Dec. 28, 2018, statement. The transaction, which is expected to be completed in about six months, has secured clearance from Kazakhstan's antitrust regulator. The deal was triggered by Kazakhtelecom's acquisition of a 75% stake in Kazakh operator Kcell JSC from Telia Co. AB and Fintur Holdings BV, which is jointly owned by Telia and Turkcell Iletisim Hizmetleri AS.

* Zynga Inc. agreed to buy Finland-based mobile game developer Small Giant Games Ltd. in a cash-and-stock deal worth $560 million. Zynga will acquire 80% of Small Giant for $330 million in cash and $230 million of unregistered Zynga common stock. Zynga will purchase the remaining 20% share of Small Giant over the next three years for amounts determined by profitability goals, according to a Dec. 20, 2018, news release.

M&A

* NEC Corp. agreed to buy KMD Holding ApS for about 8 billion Danish kroner from private equity investor Advent International Corp., according to a Dec. 27, 2018, news release. The acquisition is expected to close by the end of February. KMD Holding is the holding company of Danish information technology company KMD A/S.

* Finnish media group Sanoma Oyj is acquiring Iddink Groep BV, a provider of educational platforms and services, for €277 million, according to a Dec. 12, 2018, call. The acquisition is expected to strengthen Sanoma's growth strategy through its unit Sanoma Learning BV while enabling Sanoma and Iddink to jointly develop digital solutions for clients in the education sector. Sanoma will initially fund the deal with a €300 million bridge facility, to be replaced with longer-term funding prior to deal completion.

* Private equity firm Adelis Equity Partners AB agreed to make a majority investment in DataCenter Finland Oy, with the goal of making the independent cloud provider the leading Finnish IT services firm serving midsize companies. DataCenter Finland's current owners, including management, will remain significant investors in the company, which plans to use the investment to expand its information security, "holistic IT architecture" and end-user solutions, according to a Dec. 4, 2018, news release.

* The European Commission on Nov. 27, 2018, granted unconditional approval to T-Mobile Netherlands BV's proposed acquisition of fellow mobile operator Tele2 Netherlands Holding NV. Following an in-depth investigation, the commission concluded that the transaction would not raise competition concerns in the European Economic Area. The telcos' respective parent entities, Deutsche Telekom AG and Tele2 AB, welcomed the deal's approval.

INTERNET, OTT AND MOBILE

* Telefónica UK Ltd., also known as O2, plans to bill Ericsson tens of millions of British pounds for the software issue that caused the British operator's data network outage, U.K.'s The Daily Telegraph reported Dec. 8, 2018. The bill against Ericsson, O2's technology supplier, is estimated to reach about £100 million, the report said.

* Nokia Corp. agreed to a €250 million loan of five-year maturity after disbursement with the Nordic Investment Bank to finance the research and development of 5G technology. Nokia's development program aimed at 5G will focus on the European market in 2018-2020, the company said in a Dec. 3, 2018, press release.

REGULATORY AND LEGAL

* Google LLC is facing complaints from seven consumer groups in Europe over alleged violations of the European Union's data privacy law, in relation to how the company tracks the location of its users. Consumer organizations across Europe, such as in Norway and Sweden, said they are referring the Alphabet Inc. unit to their respective national data protection regulators, claiming that the company employs various practices to trick users into giving their location data, the European Consumer Organisation said Nov. 27, 2018.

As of Jan. 1, US$1 was equivalent to 6.51 Danish kroner.

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