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Japan Display ends Suwa consortium deal; Sony selling entertainment channels

S&P Global Market Intelligence provides a wrap-up of Asia-Pacific media and communications deal announcements, completions and updates from Dec. 24, 2019 to Jan. 16.

Top News

* Japan Display Inc. terminated its capital and business alliance deal with the Suwa consortium after the parties failed to reach a final agreement on the investment by Dec. 31, 2019. The Japan-based display maker said it is still in talks with Ichigo Asset Management Ltd. for up to ¥90 billion in funding and hopes to complete the fund procurement in February or March.

* Sony Corp. agreed to sell some entertainment channels to former Sony Pictures Television Inc. executives Andy Kaplan and George Chien, Variety reported. The channels included in the transaction are Sony's AXN-branded channels in Southeast Asia, Animax and South Korea's Sony One entertainment channel. Kaplan and Chien will operate the channels under KC Global Media, a company that the executives launched.

* Beijing Byte Dance Telecommunications Co. Ltd. does not intend to sell its TikTok app, Reuters reports, citing a statement by TikTok CEO Alex Zhu in an internal note. The emergence of the note comes after Bloomberg News reported that ByteDance CEO Yiming Zhang is looking into a range of options for the video unit to address concerns it faces in the U.S. Recommendations from advisers include an aggressive legal defense or a sale of a majority stake in TikTok.

Technology

* Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. acquired U.S.-based network services provider TeleWorld Solutions Inc. for an undisclosed sum. Paul Kyungwhoon Cheun, head of networks business at Samsung Electronics, said the transaction would allow the company to improve its 4G and 5G networks.

* Japan Display is in talks to sell one of its major factories to Apple Inc. and Sharp Corp. for as much as ¥90 billion, according to several media outlets. In response to media reports, the cash-strapped display panel maker said it was considering all options for its plant in Hakusan, Ishikawa prefecture, but said nothing has been decided yet.

* Australia-based Blast Movement Technologies Pty. Ltd. has been acquired by Hexagon AB for an undisclosed amount. Sweden-based Hexagon provides IT solutions for geospatial and industrial landscapes, while Blast Movement is a provider of blast movement monitoring solutions and analysis for open-pit mines.

* Australian marketing services provider Salmat Ltd. agreed to sell its MicroSourcing International Inc. business to Probe BPO Holdings Pty. Ltd. for A$100 million. The deal completion is expected to take place by the end of February.

* Murata Manufacturing Co. Ltd. agreed to acquire Miraisens Inc., a local haptic technology solutions provider, to expand its product-base in the sensor and actuator business. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

* Rakuten Inc. decided to off-load its U.S.-based e-book distribution unit OverDrive Inc. Meanwhile, KKR & Co. Inc. said it signed a deal to acquire OverDrive for an undisclosed amount. The private equity company will make the investment in OverDrive via its KKR Americas XII Fund.

* NEXON Korea Corp. will merge with its subsidiary Nexon Red Corp. on Feb. 26, Seoul Economic Daily reported. The game developer purchased all of Nexon Red shares from Nexon GT Co. Ltd. in December 2019.

* FUJIFILM Holdings Corp. is eyeing a takeover of CapVest Partners LLP-owned medical imaging supplies provider Curium SAS, Bloomberg News reports, citing people familiar with the matter.

* TuanChe Ltd. closed the acquisition of cloud software developer Longye International Ltd. for 200 million yuan in the form of cash and company securities. TuanChe entered into a purchase agreement with Longye in June 2019 to help improve the automotive marketplace's operations, product offerings, and sales and marketing capabilities.

Media

* A consortium led by Chinese conglomerate Tencent Holdings Ltd. agreed to purchase a 10% equity stake in Universal Music Group Inc. from France-based Vivendi SA in a deal that values the total music enterprise at €30 billion. The Tencent-led consortium is joined by Tencent Music Entertainment Group and certain global financial investors.

* Cinedigm Corp. signed a definitive stock purchase agreement to purchase about 29% of the outstanding equity of Chinese entertainment company Starrise Media Holdings Ltd. from two existing holders. Under terms of the transaction, the company agreed to issue to the sellers a total of 54,850,103 shares of its class A common stock.

* IVE Group Ltd. completed the acquisitions of Salmat Marketing Solutions and Reach Media New Zealand Ltd., the Australian and New Zealand catalog distribution business of Salmat Ltd. Financial details were not disclosed.

* Kakao M Corp. subsidiary Starship Entertainment Corp. signed a deal to acquire a 100% stake in local live entertainment company Shownote Co. Inc., Financial News reports. The music unit of Kakao Corp. plans to leverage Shownote's global market experience to expand its live stage performance business overseas.

* Dentsu Group Inc. subsidiary Dentsu Aegis Network Ltd. acquired California-based analytics company E-Nor Inc. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Telecommunications

* The Ministry of Science and ICT conditionally approved the merger of SK Telecom Co. Ltd. unit SK Broadband with cable TV operator t-broad Holdings Co.Ltd., Yonhap News Agency reports. Under the conditional consent, the merged entity must not engage in unfair practices and not discriminate against existing customers, telecom operators KT Corp., LG U+ and other budget smartphone companies that use SK's networks.

* Philippines-based telco PLDT Inc. confirmed a plan to sell some assets as it seeks to finance its capital expenditures this year. PLDT Chairman Manuel Pangilinan said the company received bids for its Smart Tower headquarters, which is expected to fetch at least 5 billion Philippine pesos.

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