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European deals through May 6: eBay, Microsoft, Axel Springer

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European deals through May 6: eBay, Microsoft, Axel Springer

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

M&A Media

*EBay Inc. agreed toacquire Sweden-basedExpertmaker, a provider of artificial intelligence-backed solutions, machinelearning and big data analytics. The acquisition will help advance eBay's structured datainitiative, eBay Vice President and General Manager of Structured Data AmitMenipaz said in a May 5 news release. Post-transaction, Expertmaker workerswill join eBay's structured data product and technology team, while Expertmakerfounder and CEO Lars Hard will join as director of data science, reporting toMenipaz.

*Germany's Axel Springer SE'sAxel Springer Digital Ventures GmbH sold Smarthouse Media GmbH to Adesso AG ina deal worth €24million. Smarthouse, whose founders also participated in the sale, is aprovider of online financial applications. The Axel Springer unit said in a May4 news release that the sale is part of its strategy to focus on itsjournalistic brands and marketing and classified ad models. Smarthouse Mediaoperates over 300 portals on the basis of its own product solutions. DigitalVentures was a majority owner of Smarthouse Media for over 15 years.

*Microsoft Corp.acquired Italy-basedInternet of Things platform Solair. Solair's IoT platform provides services toindustries such as manufacturing, retail, food and beverage and transportation.The company was founded by CEO Tom Davis in 2011. Solair's technology will beintegrated into the Microsoft Azure IoT suite and its team will join the AzureIoT team, Sam George, Azure IoT partner director, wrote in a May 3 blog post.

*Modern Times Group MTG ABwill receive $123 million in cash from CTCMedia Inc. in the latter's cash-out merger , according to a May 2 newsrelease. MTG would have divested its 38% stake in CTC Media after the latterpays $2.05 per share in the transaction, which is expected to close by mid-May.The Swedish media group will use the cash proceeds to reduce its debt andfinance the development of its digital video businesses.

M&A Communications

*Russian operator ER-Telecom received permission to St. Petersburg-based firm VestKoll, Broadband TV News reported May 5, citing Kommersant. Vest Koll was founded in 1996 and most recently ownedby the Cyprus-registered Wintergate Holdings Ltd. Prospective buyers reportedlyincluded Rostelecom PJSCand MegaFon. VestKoll has 350,000 business-to-consumer customers and 25,000 business-to-businessclients, according to the report.

*Italian power utility Enel is close to submittingits bid for a majority stake in fiber optic firm Metroweb, Reuters reported May5, citing two sources familiar with the matter. Enel, which is said tocurrently value Metroweb at €760 million, reportedly plans to acquireinfrastructure fund F2i's 54% stake in Metroweb, and merge Metroweb with itsEnel Open Fiber venture. TelecomItalia SpA is also looking to acquire a majority stake in Metroweb.

*Lithuanian telco Cgates UAB has acquiredRemo Televizija, a local cable operator serving the towns of Elektrenai andKaišiadorys, Telecompaper reported May 4, citing Vz.lt. Cgates has about130,000 pay TV-subscribing households and 90,000 internet customers, accordingto the report. Cgates is a unit of Estonia's Starman AS.