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Disney's Fox purchase includes Star India; Youku inks deals with NBCU, Sony

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Investment Banking Essentials: February 21

Disney's Fox purchase includes Star India; Youku inks deals with NBCU, Sony


* In a transaction that significantly changes the media landscape, Walt Disney Co. has reached a deal to buy an array of 21st Century Fox Inc.'s international and domestic assets. Internationally, the transaction bolsters Disney's presence abroad, via Fox Networks International, with more than 350 channels in 170 countries; Fox's fast-growing STAR India Pvt. Ltd.; and its 39% ownership of satellite giant Sky plc across Europe.

* Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.'s Chinese video streaming service Youku unveiled major licensing agreements with NBCUniversal Media LLC and Sony Pictures Television Inc. The agreements will give Youku subscribers access to hundreds of film titles from the two U.S. studios for free, which can be streamed through multiple Youku distribution channels, including its flagship online platform, SmartTV solutions and set-top boxes.

* Discovery Communications Inc. will introduce four new digital channels in India in 2018, in partnership with Vodafone India's Vodafone Play, YouTube LLC, Facebook Inc. and Reliance Jio. According to Press Trust of India, the mobile-first channels will feature content in four areas — military, female activism, auto and food. Discovery will roll out its military platform Veer and female infotainment platform Rise in the first quarter of 2018, with about 1,000 videos and more than 100 hours of original content.


* NEC Corp. said that global aerospace and security giant Lockheed Martin Corp. will utilize its artificial intelligence software, System Invariant Analysis Technology, to analyze data collected by sensors in space. SIAT's advanced analytics engine enables the system to automatically detect inconsistencies and prescribe resolutions, allowing operators to improve product performance and life cycle efficiency.

* San Francisco-based facial recognition emoji app startup Mirror raised US$3.5 million in a funding round from investors including Japan's SoftBank Group Corp., Greylock Ventures, SV Angel, Peter Thiel, Y Combinator, I2BF, Data Collective, Peter Diamandis, Kevin Durant and others, Crunchbase reports. The Japanese telecom giant was the largest investor in the funding round that values Mirror at US$30 million, The Street reports.


* Facebook Inc. will start reporting taxes to the South Korean government in 2019, Chosun Biz reports. Facebook recently announced a plan to change its tax reporting method to report sales from local ads to local governments, instead of booking all revenues in Ireland. Facebook Korea will start administrative work from next year to fully change the tax reporting system from the year after.

* The 5G core technologies developed by SK Telecom Co. Ltd. and KT Corp. have been adopted as national standards, ZDNet Korea reports. The Telecommunications Technology Association adopted SK's 5G front-haul technology and KT's 5G network slice orchestration technology.


* China Mobile International Ltd., a unit of China Mobile Ltd., launched a mobile virtual network operator business in the U.K. CMLink will use British Telecom's EE mobile network to provide mobile voice and data services for Chinese immigrants, students and professionals living in and traveling to the U.K.

* Tencent Holdings Ltd. led a fresh funding round in Chinese electric vehicle startup WM Motor Technology Co., which is backed by Baidu Inc., by infusing 200 million yuan, Yicai reports.

* Google Brain co-founder Andrew Ng launched, a new venture with iPhone assembler Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. Ltd., or Foxconn Technology, to bring artificial intelligence and machine learning to factories, Reuters reports.

* China Giant Screen, the Beijing-based rival of IMAX Corp., launched its first theater in Hong Kong, Mtime reports.

* Vision Film Entertainment secured the China distribution of Australian-Canadian animated feature "Arkie." According to Variety, Vision plans to release the movie in 10,000 Chinese theaters.

* Tencent's cloud service entered into a strategic partnership with Beijing-based real estate agency Homelink. Under the agreement, Tencent will use big data and AI to optimize Homelink's platform to offer more convenient and targeted information for users.


* India's Supreme Court permitted Vodafone Group Plc to initiate a second arbitration process over its long-running tax dispute with the Indian government, Reuters reports. Vodafone is contesting a tax bill of more than US$2 billion relating to its acquisition of Hutchison Whampoa's wireless assets.

* Reliance Jio is in talks to move the production of its 4G feature phones to India after facing supply-related issues at its Chinese vendor's facility, two people with direct knowledge of the matter told Mint.

* Tata Communications Ltd.'s board approved a demerger of about 773 acres of surplus land to Hemisphere Properties India Ltd., a special purpose vehicle.

* India-based kids' content creator ChuChu TV is teaming up with Skoolbo to launch ChuChuSchool, a new offering for preschool children, Television Post reports. ChuChuSchool will feature reading, mathematics, languages, science, geography, music and art for preschool children through a dedicated YouTube channel and complementary web subscription and app.

* BSNL employees will go on a two-day strike to protest pending salary issues and the hiring of a private company to maintain the company's mobile towers, The Economic Times (India) reports.


* Vietnam's Ministry of Information and Communications awarded the country's fifth 4G license to Vietnamobile, a joint venture between Hanoi Telecom and Hong Kong-based Hutchison Asia Telecom, Developing Telecoms reports.

* Iflix Malaysia is searching for a new CEO following the departure of Azran Osman-Rani, Marketing Interactive reports. Azran left to focus on building his own startup.

* Telkom Indonesia is targeting a May 2018 launch for its Telkom 4 satellite, CNN Indonesia reports. Space System Loral and SpaceX were selected to build Telkom's satellite and its launcher, respectively.

* PT Hutchison 3 Indonesia picked Nokia Corp. as the cloud solution provider to enhance its mobile broadband offerings and future innovations.

* Uber Technologies Inc. struck a partnership with Thailand's Suvarnabhumi Taxi Cooperative operator Howa International Co. Ltd. to provide the UberTaxi service in Bangkok, the Bangkok Post reports.


* Telstra Corp. Ltd., Vodafone Australia Pty. Ltd., Singtel Optus Pty. Ltd., NBN Co. Ltd. and TPG Telecom Ltd. secured spectrum through a multiband residual lots auction held by the Australian Communications and Media Authority. Telstra was the biggest spender by purchasing 17 lots for A$72.5 million. Vodafone was second by spending A$7.2 million on three lots, followed by Optus with A$6.5 million for five lots. NBN Co. spent A$4 million for five lots, while TPG paid A$2.3 million for two lots.

* Ten Network Holdings Ltd. promoted Annabelle Herd, Ten's director of corporate and regulatory affairs, to the role of COO, effective immediately. Sunita Gloster, Ten's chief commercial and strategy officer, is leaving the Australian network after just five months, according to Mumbrella.

* Spark New Zealand Ltd. appointed Pip Greenwood as an independent non-executive director to its board, effective April 1, 2018. Greenwood will replace Mark Verbiest who retired in November.


Fox deal positions Disney to tackle Netflix, analysts say: Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger also discussed 21st Century Fox CEO James Murdoch's role at the expanded Disney during a conference call.

Layer3 deal puts T-Mobile at center of digital TV competition: news analysis: T-Mobile intends to purchase internet TV company Layer3, which could put the mobile carrier in the middle of a hotly contested fight over the future of digital TV.


Multichannel Trends: Broadband competition key to risk/reward of net neutrality's demise: The dismantling of net neutrality may open new revenue possibilities for wireline providers, but while federal regulators are clearing the path for paid prioritization, competitive dynamics potentially complicate a blank check for ISPs.

Nozomi Ibayashi, Nicole Shiwon Kim, Frances Wang, Kevin Osmond and Wil Hathaway contributed to this reports. The Daily Dose has an editorial deadline of 7 a.m. Hong Kong time. Some external links may require a subscription.