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European deals through April 29: FremantleMedia, Nokia, Hutchison

Southeast Asian broadband providers report varying performance amid COVID-19

Cable networks react to pandemic by cutting SG&A, programming costs

Strong Competition Remains For Thailand Digital Terrestrial TV Channel

ITU: Regulators discuss impacts of COVID-19 on policymaking


European deals through April 29: FremantleMedia, Nokia, Hutchison

The European edition ofM&A Replay presents a weekly wrap-up of European media and communicationsdeal announcements, completions and updates.

M&A Media

*Russia's CTC Media Inc.said April 29 that it is expectingits cash-out merger transaction to be completed by mid-May, once it receives apending tax refund from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. The company expectsconsideration of its merger to be $2.05 per share, with the total amountavailable for distribution to be $239 million. The U.S. Treasury Department'sOffice of Foreign Assets Control authorized CTC Media in March to proceed withthe merger.

*TripAdvisor Inc. hasacquired U.K.-based,holiday rental website HouseTripSA, VentureBeat reported April 28. TripAdvisor will maintain theHouseTrip brand, and the latter's property portfolio will be offered as part ofthe TripAdvisor Vacation Rentals service. HouseTrip offers European and someNorth American properties, according to its website.

*FremantleMedia Ltd.has acquired aholding of almost 35% in London-based soccer media company Squawka, accordingto an April 27 statement. Squawka, founded in 2012 by Sanjit Atwal and LeoHarrison, produces soccer-related content for social media and other digitalplatforms. The investment is expected to complement The Football Republic, anetwork of seven multiplatform fan channels operated by FremantleMedia'sBritish digital studio Shotglass Media. The RTL Group unit has options to boost its stake in Squawkain the future.

*France's SFRconfirmed April 27 that it is buyingparent company Altice NV's49% minority stake in NextRadioTV, which operates TV group BFMTV and radiostation RMC, among others. The deal values NextRadioTV at €741 million. SFRadded that it is in exclusive talks to acquire Altice's Altice Media GroupFrance, which publishes over 20 national titles, operates international newschannel i24 News and engages in events management. The proposed deal, whichvalues Altice Media Group France at €241 million, will be presented to relevantbodies representing employees of Altice Media Group France for consultation.

*Cyfrowy Polsat SA hasboosted its stake ininfrastructure company Midas SA to about 93.24%, according to an April 22statement. The Polish media group purchased 403,054,449 shares in Midas,equivalent to a holding of about 27.24%. The transaction was officially settledon April 27. Cyfrowy Polsat, via its mobile unit Polkomtel, earlier bought a66% stake in Midas.

M&A Communications

*German cable operators association FRK has filed a complaint against , and two other operatorsover a settlement that cleared the way for the Unitymedia-Kabel BW merger,Broadband TV News reported April 28. In 2015, Unitymedia's parent agreed onpaying up to €300 million to DeutscheTelekom AG and NetCologne, in exchange for the telcos withdrawingtheir complaints regarding the merger. The Federal Cartel Office, orBundeskartellamt, agreed to the withdrawal. However, in its complaint with theBundeskartellamt, the FRK argued that the settlement constitutes an illegalcartel agreement. It further argued that the Unitymedia-Kabel BW deal willhinder competition in the German cable and broadband markets. The FRK now wantsthe regulator to block the settlement and cancel the Unitymedia-Kabel BW merger.

*Telenor ASA'sNorwegian unit has acquiredNordix, a broadband operator in the country's Troms county, Telecompaperreported April 28, citing Inside Telecom. CEO Berit Svendsen said TelenorNorway had kept a low profile over the deal. The Norwegian CompetitionAuthority had no objections to the transaction.

*Nokia Corp. saidApril 26 that it agreed to acquireFrance-based Withings SA, a connected health company which provides digitalhealth products and services for €170 million in cash. Withings will becomepart of Nokia Technologies. The acquisition will strengthen Nokia's Internet ofThings position, and the addition of Withings products will ensure the ongoingrenewal of Nokia Technologies' intellectual property rights portfolio. Thetransaction is expected to close in early third quarter of 2016, subject toregulatory approvals and customary closing conditions.

* EUantitrust regulators in Brussels are set to block CKHutchison Holdings Ltd.'s proposed acquisition of 's British unit O2,Reuters reported April 25, citing two people familiar with the matter. As aformality, the EC sought approval from national competition watchdogs for itsdecision to veto the transaction. Hutchison has refused to offer moreconcessions and will instead challenge a regulatory veto. The Hong Kong-basedconglomerate is said to be hoping that the EC will not give the same conclusionto the proposed merger between 3 Italia and VimpelCom Ltd.'s WIND Telecomunicazioni SpA.

*Vodafone Group Plcunit Vodafone Indiahas acquiredMumbai-based Internet service provider YOU Broadband for up to 4 billion Indianrupees, India Infoline reported April 25. The acquisition is expected to helpstrengthen Vodafone's consumer broadband business in India, with the help ofYOU Broadband's fiber-optic and last mile coaxial cable networks.

*Spanish mobile virtual network operator MásMóvil Ibercom SA has €550 million to buy a77% stake in Telia Co. ABunit Yoigo,Telecompaper reported April 25, citing El Confidencial. MásMóvil's bid followsrival bidder ZegonaCommunications plc's failure to secure funding for its €630 millionoffer prior to the expiry of its exclusivity period on April 22. Telia andZegona had been in exclusive talks for the Yoigo deal since March. Telia willnow need to decide whether to accept MásMóvil's offer or give Zegona more timeto finance its takeover bid.