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European deals through July 22: Sony, Hutchison, Liberty Global


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European deals through July 22: Sony, Hutchison, Liberty Global

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


*SoftBank Group Corp.agreed to acquireU.K.-based semiconductor firm ARM Holdings Plc for £24.3 billion in cash,according to a July 18 news release. The Japanese conglomerate, which willpurchase each ARM share for £17, can reduce the offer price by an amount of anydividend declared or paid after the deal's announcement. SoftBank will fund thetransaction using its existing cash and funds drawn from a £7.3 billion termloan facility. The acquisition will be implemented via a court-sanctioned schemeand is not subject to antitrust or regulatory approvals.

M&A Media

*Lazard Ltd. unit Lazard Asset Management LLC took a 5.1% holding in Italian broadcaster , Telecompaperreported July 20, citing a filing with Italian markets regulator Consob. Theshare acquisition could signal a closer relationship between Mediaset andVivendi SA, accordingto the report, citing La Stampa. TheFrench media group earlier purchased Mediaset's pay TV unit Mediaset Premium aspart of a stake swap deal.

*FremantleMedia Ltd.'sNorth American unit announced July 19 that it acquired Random House Studio, the film and TV unit ofbook publisher Penguin RandomHouse LLC. FremantleMedia North America also formed a partnershipwith China's Meridian Entertainment to oversee Random House Studio'sproductions. Under the arrangement, FMNA will handle the TV adaptations whileMeridian develops the theatrical slate. Random House Studio projects currentlyin the works will go to FMNA. FremantleMedia is a unit of RTL Group.

*Sony Corp.'sSony Pictures TelevisionInc. bought a minority stake in Palladium Fiction, a Swedishproduction company, reported July 19. As part of the deal,Palladium will focus on high-end international dramas, while Sony PicturesTelevision will oversee international distribution.

M&A Communications

*Iliad SA's founderand majority shareholder Xavier Niel reduced his potential holding in to 6.9% from 15.1%,Telecompaper reported July 20, citing a filing with Italian markets regulatorConsob. Niel vowed to sell his share options in the Italian telco, after Iliadagreed to buy several assets to be sold from the merger between 's 3Italia and VimpelComLtd.'s WINDTelecomunicazioni SpA.

*Orange SA the acquisition of BhartiAirtel International (Netherlands) BV's subsidiary in Sierra Leone, accordingto a July 20 securities filing. The French telecom giant completed thetransaction with the help of its Senegal-based partner . The deal has obtained allnecessary regulatory approvals. Bharti Airtel Ltd. owns Bharti Airtel International.

*Vodafone Group Plcand Liberty Globalplc jointly announced July 19 the appointments of Jeroen Hoencampas CEO and Ritchy Drost as CFO of the companies' Dutch joint venture, which iscurrently pending antitrust approval from the European Commission. Hoencamp,currently CEO of Vodafone UK, will also assume the role of CEO, effectiveSept. 1, in anticipation of the JV closing. Drost currently serves as CFO ofLiberty Global unit ZiggoNV. Meanwhile, Ziggo CEO Baptiest Coopmans will remain in his postuntil the deal is completed, after which he will join the supervisory board ofthe merged entity. Vodafone Nederland CFO Carmen Velthuis will also remain inher post until the merger is completed, with her next designation yet to beannounced.

*Plans by a consortium of Chinese investors to acquire fell apart afterthe deal failed to secure regulatory approvals by the drop-dead date of July15. The Chinese consortium will instead purchase certain portions of Opera's consumer businessfor $600 million, according to a July 18 news release. The transaction involvesthe acquisition of Opera's mobile and desktop browser businesses, itsperformance and privacy apps division, its technology licensing businessoutside of Opera TV, and its 29.09% stake in Chinese joint venture nHorizon.The deal is expected to be completed during the second half of the thirdquarter of 2016, subject to a major reorganization of the consumer business,approvals from government authorities and other conditions.