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Asia-Pacific deals through May 26: Alibaba, SoftBank, Foxconn

The Asia-Pacific edition of M&A Replay presents a biweekly wrap-up of media and communications deal announcements, completions and updates in the region.

TOP NEWS

* Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. said May 18 that it will repurchase shares worth US$6 billion over a period of two years, aiming to offset the dilution from the company's share-based compensation programs. The Chinese e-commerce giant reported that its fiscal fourth-quarter net income surged 98% year over year to 10.65 billion yuan from 5.37 billion yuan as revenues climbed 60% to 38.58 billion yuan from 24.18 billion yuan.

* SoftBank Group Corp. acquired a 4.9% stake in Nvidia Corp for about US$4 billion, making the Japanese company the fourth-largest shareholder in the U.S. chipmaker, Bloomberg News reported May 24, citing sources familiar with the matter. Earlier, SoftBank reportedly said that part of its US$93 billion Vision Fund will be allotted to acquire a quarter of its Nvidia stake.

* Sharp Corp. and other Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. Ltd. units are acquiring U.S. display startup eLux Inc. in an effort to accelerate commercialization of next-generation MicroLED displays, according to a May 22 press release. Sharp will take a 31.82% stake in eLux, while CyberNet Venture Capital Corp. will take 45.45%. Innolux Corp. and Advanced Optoelectronic Technology Inc. are also participating in the takeover. Taiwan's Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. Ltd. is popularly known as Foxconn Technology Group.

MEDIA

* Singapore's StarHub Ltd. has agreed to acquire a 51% stake in Accel Systems & Technologies, a Singaporean cybersecurity company, The Straits Times reported May 26. Following the S$19.4 million acquisition, StarHub will expand its Cyber Security Centre of Excellence to strengthen its cybersecurity solutions.

* Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. will sell HK$3.8 billion worth of health food and nutritional products to its Hong Kong-based healthcare subsidiary Alibaba Health Information Technology Ltd, Reuters reported May 19, citing a stock exchange filing. Alibaba Health will buy Ali JK Nutritional Products Ltd. from Alibaba Group, in a deal to be reportedly settled by the issue of 1.19 billion shares at HK$3.2 each.

* Dalian Wanda Group Co. Ltd.'s Wanda Cinema Line acquired a 1.9% stake in Beijing-based Bona Film Group Limited for US$44 million, The Hollywood Reporter wrote May 16, citing a regulatory filing. The acquisition will see Bona's existing and future movie theaters folded into Wanda Cinema Line's circuit. The two companies also agreed to collaborate and co-invest on future film projects. The deal, which reportedly values the film distributor at US$2.32 billion, comes shortly after Bona was reported to be laying the groundwork for an initial public offering in China.

COMMUNICATIONS

* The Competition Commission of India has given its approval for Tata Group's acquisition of NTT DOCOMO's 21.6% stake in their failed joint venture Tata Teleservices Limited, The Economic Times (India) reported May 25. In its application, Tata claimed that the buyout would not affect the competitive landscape of India's telecom market. Tata Sons, Tata Steel, Tata Industries, Tata Communications Ltd and Tata Power jointly made the filing to the antitrust watchdog.

* A Cambodia-based subsidiary of Malaysian telco operator Axiata Group Berhad, Axiata Investments (Cambodia) Ltd., has sold 10% of its shares in Axiata (Cambodia) Holdings Ltd to Mitsui & Co. Ltd. and its affiliated company M&Y Asia Telecom Holdings Pte. Ltd. for US$66 million, news site Berita Harian reported May 19. The transaction is expected to be completed by the end of May this year.

* Malaysian telco operator Axiata Group Berhad has signed an agreement to acquire 65% of Suvitech Co. Ltd., a Thailand-based mobile virtual network enabler platform, The Star reported May 15. The acquisition, which is expected to cost up to US$11.05 million, is seen as both strategic and synergistic as Suvitech's platform serves as a plug and play solution for Axiata Group's enterprise and Internet of Things business in Thailand.