* SoftBank Group Corp. said it expects to record approximately ¥1.2 trillion in pretax profit after completing the sale of some of its shares in Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. The company said it would book the profit in the three-month period ending June 30. The transaction, which involves selling 73 million American depositary shares, leaves SoftBank and its subsidiaries with a 26% stake in Alibaba.
* Tencent Holdings Ltd. terminated its bid for South Korean game developer NEXON Co. Ltd., 36Kr reported. The five final bidders are game publisher Netmarble Corp., web service company Kakao Corp. and private equity firms Bain Capital LP, KKR & Co. and MBK Partners.
* Airtel Africa Ltd. confirmed plans to list on the London Stock Exchange and is looking to raise about US$750 million. The Bharti Airtel Ltd. unit plans to use the proceeds from the IPO to reduce its net debt. The number of shares to be sold and indicative price range will be announced in the coming weeks.
* Though the proposed merger of Sprint Corp. and T-Mobile US Inc. appears to have cleared all federal regulatory hurdles besides the U.S. Department of Justice, California's influential public utilities commission continues to be a potential obstacle for the deal.
* KDDI Corp. will enter into a mobility-as-a-service business with NAVITIME JAPAN Co. Ltd., a navigation technology and services provider, The Nikkei reported. Under the tie-up, the two companies will work closely together to offer systems and data to companies and local authorities.
* Hitachi Ltd. formed an alliance with U.S. IT services company Virtusa Corp. to offer artificial intelligence-based solutions to financial institutions. The two companies will also collaborate on sales, delivery and maintenance activities.
* Nippon Telegraph & Telephone Corp. subsidiary NTT Plala Inc. formed a business alliance with consumer electronics company Funai Electric Co. Ltd. to create new business opportunities amid increase demand for 5G.
* LG U+ is considering selling its payment gateway business unit for 400 billion won, Chosun Biz reported. A source from the telco said the company is reviewing options, and the decision to sell is yet to be finalized.
* In other LG U+ news, the telco is set to offer its 5G-based game show streaming service called U+ Game Live during the League of Legends Champions Korea starting June 5, ET News reported. The service will provide viewers with a multiview function to pick a specific gamer's play and a time machine function to replay scenes.
* SK Telecom Co. Ltd., in partnership with Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. and Harman International Industries Inc., successfully demonstrated ATSC 3.0-based broadcasting services on its 5G networks in a moving car, Financial News reported. Following the demonstration, the joint venture of SK Telecom and Sinclair plan to roll out ATSC 3.0-based solutions to 191 broadcasting stations that Sinclair owns.
* KT Corp. will collaborate with six small and medium-sized companies on new 5G-related businesses, Digital Daily reported. The selected companies will each receive 50 million won from the telco for research, prototype development and marketing.
CHINA, HONG KONG AND TAIWAN
* China blocked CNN (US)'s website after the news outlet published a story about the 30th anniversary of Tiananmen Square, TechCrunch reported. The block came shortly after financial information provider Refinitiv took down Reuters news stories related to Tiananmen Square from its Eikon terminal, following an order from the Cyberspace Administration of China.
* Tencent is leading a US$40 million funding round for TrueLayer Ltd., a London-based financial technology startup, The Times reported, citing sources. Other potential backers include Singapore's sovereign wealth fund Temasek Holdings (Pte.) Ltd.
* Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. is laying off workers from its last factory in China, Caixin reported, citing an internal document. The job cuts are voluntary, with one staff saying the factory is still operating as usual.
* Red Hare, a social app tailor-made by LinkedIn Corp. for the Chinese market, will go offline after 31 July, Tencent News reported. Users can download all their data before the shutdown and switch to the LinkedIn app afterward.
INDIA AND SOUTH ASIA
* The Cellular Operators Association of India said the government's proposed base price for the auction of 5G spectrum is too expensive, Reuters reported. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India earlier proposed a base price of 4.92 billion Indian rupees, which, according to COAI Director General Rajan Mathews, is higher than rates in other parts of the world.
* Star India Pvt. Ltd. is preparing to launch two regional language versions of the National Geographic Channel (US), Rapid TV News reported. National Geographic Tamil and National Geographic Telugu will go live June 20.
* Amazon.com Inc.'s Prime Video secured streaming rights to the Indian adaptation of scripted comedy "La Famiglia." According to World Screen, the series will premiere on Prime Video June 7 under the local title "Mind the Malhotras."
* Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd. has given an expanded role to Vibha Chopra as head of global syndication and international film distribution, Indian Television reported. Chopra has taken over the global licensing and syndication profile in addition to her current role of leading the international film distribution business.
* Securities Commission Malaysia registered three market operators to establish and operate digital asset exchanges, DealStreetAsia reported. The three companies — Luno Malaysia Sdn. Bhd., SINEGY Technologies (M) Sdn. Bhd. and Tokenize Technology (M) Sdn. Bhd. — will be given up to nine months to comply with all regulatory requirements.
* Bangkok-based Planet Communications Asia PCL and Bliss-Tel PCL formed a joint venture called Bliss Planet to jointly bid for a rural broadband internet project of the local telecom regulator, Kaohoon reported. The joint venture reportedly won the bid and will be installing internet infrastructure in northern Thailand.
* Thailand's National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission will partner with Khon Kaen University to build a 5G testbed with a focus on medical and agricultural applications, Siam Rath reported. The two parties will sign a memorandum of understanding for this on June 20.
* Singapore-based telecom operator Singtel launched an unmanned 24/7 pop-up store called UNBOXED, which allows customers to consult with a live bot, try out phones, sign up for mobile plans and collect their purchased devices.
AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND
* EQT Infrastructure, a fund managed by private equity firm EQT Partners AB, is no longer interested in an A$5.25-per-share acquisition of Vocus Group Ltd. The decision comes after EQT conducted its due diligence on the Australian telecom operator.
* Telstra Corp. Ltd. will lay off about 25% of its contractors in the next two years, Reuters reported, citing Telstra CEO Andy Penn's statement at an investor conference. With the Australian telco estimated to have approximately 40,000 contractors, the job cuts may impact about 10,000 people.
Data Dispatch: Slack readies for debut amid bullish expectations despite volatile markets: Slack Technologies will launch an unconventional direct listing in an IPO market that experts say has been generally upbeat, despite some high-profile misses and broad market uncertainty.
Economics of Internet: State of Singapore online video: Subscription: Subscription over-the-top video service providers face a considerable amount of competition in Singapore, but they continue to stake claims in the market by focusing on sustaining subscribers through wider distribution and differentiated content.
Nozomi Ibayashi, Myungran Ha, 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.