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European deals: Vodafone acquiring Liberty Global assets; Nokia buys IoT startup

S&P Global Market Intelligence provides a wrap-up of European media and communications deal announcements, completions and updates from May 7 to May 11.


* Vodafone Group PLC has agreed to acquire Liberty Global PLC's operations in Germany, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania for €18.4 billion. The British mobile giant plans to finance the transaction using existing cash, new debt facilities and about €3 billion of mandatory convertible bonds. The assets in eastern Europe, which are expected to complement Vodafone's existing operations in the region, will be acquired on a cash-free, debt-free basis. Once the transaction closes, Vodafone will own Liberty Global unit Unitymedia as well as UPC Czech Republic, UPC Hungary and UPC Romania.

The deal is anticipated to be completed in mid-2019, subject to regulatory approvals. Vodafone, which owns a range of wireless broadband networks across Europe, including in the U.K., Italy and Germany, will have to pay a break fee of €250 million if the transaction fails to close.

* Nokia Corp. has acquired U.S.-based machine learning-powered analytics and internet of things applications provider SpaceTime Insight Inc. Nokia said the acquisition will speed up the development of advanced applications for energy, logistics, transportation and utilities markets. SpaceTime Insight designs machine learning models and advanced analytics for asset-intensive industries to predict asset health and optimize related operations.

M&A media

* Accenture PLC completed its acquisition of New York digital agency Meredith Xcelerated Marketing, which was formerly owned by U.S. media company Meredith Corp.

* Warner Music Group Corp. sold nearly 75% of its Spotify Technology SA equity for about $400 million. CEO Stephen Cooper said during Warner Music Group's May 7 earnings call that the sale has nothing to do with the company's view of Spotify's future.

M&A communications

* Accenture completed the acquisition of Certus Solutions, a British provider of Oracle Cloud implementation services. Accenture, which provides services and solutions in strategy, consulting, digital, technology and operations, said Certus Solutions is now part of its Oracle practice.

* PLDT Inc. unit PLDT Online Investments Pte. Ltd. reduced its stake in Rocket Internet SE, a German private equity and venture capital firm specializing in technology and internet companies, to 2.0% from 6.1%. According to a Form 6-K filed May 7, Rocket Internet accepted 6.8 million Rocket shares tendered by PLDT Online at the offer price of €24 per share for a total consideration of €163.2 million. Rocket Internet earlier announced plans to buy back up to 15,472,912 of its shares. Rocket Internet would have settled the consideration on or before May 14.

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