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SoftBank eyes US$90B valuation for telecom unit; Bytedance seeks US$3B funding

TOP NEWS

* SoftBank Group Corp. is aiming at a valuation of about US$90 billion for its domestic telecom unit SoftBank Corp. in a planned public listing, Bloomberg News reports, citing sources familiar with the matter. The Japanese conglomerate reportedly seeks to sell about US$30 billion, or a third, of SoftBank Corp. in the IPO, with the final valuation depending on feedback from investors. SoftBank Corp.'s shares are expected to begin trading at the Tokyo Stock Exchange as early as the fourth quarter, according to the report.

* Beijing Bytedance Technology Co. Ltd. has begun a fundraising round that could value the company at about US$75 billion, The Wall Street Journal reports. The owner of Chinese news aggregation app Jinri Toutiao and short video app Tik Tok is reportedly aiming to raise around US$3 billion, according to people familiar with the matter.

JAPAN

* The SoftBank Vision Fund is moving to lead an investment of US$3 billion to US$5 billion in Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.-owned food delivery startup Ele.me, Bloomberg News reports, citing people familiar with the matter. SoftBank is reportedly in talks with possible investors, including venture capital firms.

* Nippon Telegraph & Telephone Corp. announced the establishment of an IT strategy office that will be in charge of boosting digital transformation within the NTT Group. The new office will begin operations Sept. 1.

* NEC Corp. announced its facial recognition system has been selected for use at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games. The system will be used to identify athletes, staff and volunteers entering and exiting Olympic venues.

SOUTH KOREA

* Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. has begun mass production of the 4-bit 4-terabyte SATA solid-state drive for consumers. The company plans to release three 4-bit consumer SSD models this year with the capacities ranging from 1 TB to 4 TB.

* SK Broadband plans to strengthen its IPTV and over-the-top services. The telco will overhaul the user interface for its IPTV service Btv by providing customized main home pages based on the analysis of each user's viewing pattern. For its OTT service Oksusu, the telco plans to strengthen the sports content by minimizing the latency in broadcasting for the Korea Baseball Championship league and applying VR technologies.

* LG Electronics Inc. will slash prices of its OLED TV models for a limited time, Yonhap News Agency reports. Along with the 77-inch models, the 55-inch OLED TV will be sold at 2.09 million Korean won, a 300,000-won reduction from the average price, until the end of this month.

CHINA, HONG KONG AND TAIWAN

* Walt Disney Co., Alibaba Group and Comcast Corp.'s NBCUniversal Media LLC have joined a US$1 billion funding round for a mobile streaming service founded by former Walt Disney Studios Chairman and DreamWorks Animation LLC co-founder, Jeffrey Katzenberg. The subscription service, known as NewTV, will reportedly feature scripted and unscripted content, including sitcoms, dramas, reality and documentaries in the 15-minute range, and is expected to launch by the end of 2019.

* HKBN Ltd. entered into an agreement with private equity firms MBK Partners Ltd. and TPG Capital Management LP to merge with Hong Kong-based fixed-line telco WTT HK Ltd. Under the deal, a subsidiary of HKBN conditionally agreed to buy all of WTT's shares, in exchange for issuing a combination of HKBN shares and vendor loan notes to MBK and TPG.

* Tencent Holdings Ltd.-backed Chinese marketing and cloud services company Weimob has applied for a Hong Kong IPO, the South China Morning Post reported, citing a prospectus filed Aug. 6.

* SoftBank-backed Taiwanese artificial intelligence solutions provider Appier Inc. has acquired India-based content marketing startup Qgraph for an undisclosed sum early this year, Tech in Asia reports.

* Beijing Moviebook Technology Co. Ltd. completed a 1.36 billion yuan series D funding round, which had SenseTime Group Ltd. and SB China Venture Capital as investors, 36Kr reports. The startup, which focuses on video recognition and online video technology, will use the fresh funding to develop smart image technology optimization.

* Li Haiou, president of China Unicom's online content distribution subsidiary Wostore, said the company will shift its focus to online gaming, covering esports, minivideos and paid content, Tencent News reports.

INDIA AND SOUTH ASIA

* Reliance Industries Ltd said it has completed the acquisition of a 5% equity stake on a fully diluted basis in Eros International PLC for US$46.7 million in cash.

* Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd. appointed Animesh Kumar as chief people officer, Business Standard reports. Prior to joining the company, Kumar was chief people and transformation officer at Future Group.

* Indian cab-hailing platform Ola announced plans to enter the United Kingdom, with operations in South Wales beginning in September.

SOUTHEAST ASIA

* Malaysian integrated media company Media Prima Bhd. is partnering with YouTube LLC to reach more viewers and access greater monetization opportunities by making all of its online video content available on the Google LLC-owned video streaming service, New Straits Times reports.

* PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia Tbk launched its newest satellite, Satelit Merah Putih, which is equipped with 60 transponders that will support the existing Telkom 2 and Telkom 3S satellites to provide services for customers in Indonesia and foreign countries, The Jakarta Post reports.

* True Corp. confirmed it will not take part in Thailand's upcoming 900 MHz and 1800 MHz spectrum auctions, Prachachat reports. The Thai telco believes it already has sufficient bandwidth for its TrueMove H mobile services and its decision to pull out of the auction will not affect service quality.

* Thailand's National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission released new figures showing that terrestrial TV advertising revenues dropped 5.6% in July compared to June, Krungthep Turakij reports. However, the figures also show that July's ad revenue increased by 692 million baht compared with the same period last year.

AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

* Sydney-based private equity firm Mercury Capital Pty. Ltd. is in discussions to acquire a 30% stake in MessageMedia, an Australian SMS-based marketing and communications company. According to The Australian Financial Review, the investment could value MessageMedia at about A$250 million.

* The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission launched a public inquiry to decide whether to extend, vary, revoke or make a new domestic mobile terminating access service, or MTAS, declaration. The MTAS is a wholesale service that allows consumers on different mobile networks to make calls or send SMS to each other.

FEATURED NEWS

How OTC Markets fights stock fraud enabled by 'fake news': OTC Markets Group, home to hundreds of small banks, healthcare companies and tech firms, has been working for several years to clean up fraud on its trading venues, a task that has grown more difficult amid the rise of fake websites and social media.

FEATURED RESEARCH

EPI Group's 15 TV stations could fetch $480M in a deal: The sale of 15 stations in 11 small and midsize markets could yield up to $480.1 million at a 10x 2018-2019 average forward cash flow.

RECENT EARNINGS

Disney misses normalized EPS estimate for fiscal Q3; shares fall: Walt Disney shares were down more than 2% in after-hours trading Aug. 7 after the company reported adjusted earnings per share of $1.87 versus a normalized consensus estimate of $1.95.

Joji Sakurai, Nicole Shiwon Kim, Emily Lai, Ed Eduard and Patrick Tibke contributed to this report. The Daily Dose has an editorial deadline of 7 a.m. Hong Kong time. Some external links may require a subscription. Links are current as of publication time, and we are not responsible if those links are unavailable later.