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Alibaba to buy controlling stake in Asian e-commerce platform; Sumner Redstone against Paramount sale


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Alibaba to buy controlling stake in Asian e-commerce platform; Sumner Redstone against Paramount sale


* agreed to acquire acontrolling stake in Lazada Group SA's Southeast Asian e-commerce platform,Lazada, for a total investment of about $1 billion. The total amount consistsof an investment of about $500 million in newly issued equity capital of Lazadaand the acquisition of shares from certain Lazada shareholders, according to acompany newsrelease. In connection with the deal, Alibaba entered into aput-call arrangement with certain Lazada shareholders that grant Alibaba theright to purchase, and the shareholders the right to collectively sell theirremaining stakes in Lazada during the 12- to 18-month period after thetransaction closes.

*Sumner Redstone, chairman emeritus of Viacom Inc., is against the of Viacom's holdings in ParamountPictures, The Wall Street Journal reports,citing sources with knowledge of the matter. Soon after a plan to sell astake in the studiowas announced, Redstone called Paramount CEO Brad Grey and expresseddispleasure about the potential sale, according to the report. Additionally,Redstone told other people that he does not want to sell Paramount, sourcesreportedly said. Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman reportedly met earlier withRedstone to discuss the plan and thought he heard the executive agree to it,according to the Journal.


* Inmore M&A news, ORBCOMMInc. struck a deal to acquire Skygistics (PTY) Ltd. and its SouthAfrican and Australian subsidiaries. Based outside of Johannesburg, SouthAfrica, Skygistics provides a range of satellite and cellular connectivity optionsas well as telematics services centered on the management of remote and mobileassets to more than 250 telematics and enterprise customers. According to acompany newsrelease, the transaction is expected to close in May, subject tocustomary closing conditions. Skygistics, which has more than 40 employees,will add distribution for ORBCOMM's broad range of products in some of thefastest-growing Internet of Things markets, including South Africa and 22 otherAfrican nations.

*Microsoft Corp.backed the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield, a new framework to replace the Safe Harbor agreement thatgoverned data transmission between Europe and the U.S. In an official blog post,John Frank, vice president of the European Union government affairs, said thecompany is pledging to sign up for the Privacy Shield, and will put in placenew commitments to advance privacy as this instrument is implemented. Frankalso highlighted the need for additional steps required to address privacyissues, such as additional domestic legislation and new bilateral andultimately multilateral agreements. Frank added that the companywill commit to transparency obligations included in the framework regardingU.S. government requests for access to information. In terms of privacycomplaints, Frank said the company will respond within 45 days.

Internet & OTT

*Netflix Inc. unveiledthe premiere dates for three original series at a press conference in Paris. Ina news release, thecompany said it will premiere the second season of action adventure series"Marco Polo" globally on July 1. The series will be available in 4K.The 10 episode series will be created by John Fusco, stars Lorenzo Richelmy,Michelle Yeoh, Benedict Wong, Joan Chen, and Olivia Cheng, among others."Marco Polo" is produced by The Weinstein Co. for Netflix. Also, thestreaming giant said it will globally launch upcoming original series"Marseille" on May 5. The drama series' cast includes GérardDepardieu, Benoît Magimel, Géraldine Pailhas, Nadia Farès, and StéphaneCaillard. Additionally, the company will premiere new original series "TheCrown" on Nov. 4. "The Crown," which will feature 10 episodes,will focus on Queen Elizabeth II as a 25-year-old newlywed leading the world'smost famous monarchy while forging a relationship with Prime Minister, SirWinston Churchill. The series will also be available in 4K.

*Gavin Polone, an original producer on "The Gilmore Girls," suedTime Warner Inc.'sWarner Bros. over the alleged breach of contract related to the planned revivalof the series at Netflix, Variety reports.In a lawsuit, Polone cited an agreement for the original series that reportedlyentitles him to payments for the series revival. Polone said the agreement from2000 and settlement agreement from 2002 allows him to seek $32,500 for eachepisode produced after 2003, a percentage of the modified adjusted gross, andcredit as executive producer in the opening title or main credit.

*Verizon CommunicationsInc.'s FiOS topped Netflix's ISP Speed Index forMarch, with an average speed of 3.69 Mbps, according to a poston the streaming service's website. Bright House Networks LLC was No. 2 with an averagespeed of 3.64 Mbps, followed by Cox Communications Inc. at No. 3 with an average speedof 3.62 Mbps. Fourth on the list was Cablevision Systems Corp.'s Optimum, while tookthe fifth spot.


*Charter CEO Tom Rutledge held a meeting with FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler todiscuss the company's proposed merger deal with TimeWarner Cable Inc., MultichannelNews reports,citing a filing with the agency. At the meeting, Rutledge highlighted thebenefits of the merger agreement, such as the expansion of broadband, Charter'scommitment to no usage-based pricing and to settlement-free interconnections,according to the filing. The meeting comes as the review clock is set to reach200 days. John Sallet, general counsel at the commission, also reportedly attendedthe meeting.

The day ahead

Earlymorning futures indicators pointed to a lower opening for the U.S. market.

InAsia, the Hang Seng was up 0.30% to 20,501.27, and the Nikkei 225 rose 1.13% to15,928.79.

InEurope as of midday, the FTSE 100 dropped 0.06% to 6,196.60, and the Euronext100 was up 0.16% to 852.52.

On the macro front

TheNFIB small business optimism index, the import and export prices report,Redbook index and the treasury budget report are due out today.

Featured news

The Daily DoseEurope: UK watchdog slams Three-O2 merger; Microsoft backs EU-US privacypact: The U.K.'s Competition and Markets Authority said that theThree-O2 merger would hinder competition in the country's mobile market; while Microsoftexpressed its support for the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield.

The week inOTT: Hopper 3 DVR offers access to Netflix Ultra HD content; Verizon Wirelessunveils exclusive HBO Now offer: DISH Network Corp. subscribers can now use its Hopper 3DVR to stream Netflix's catalog of Ultra HD TV shows and movies, whileVerizon Wirelessunveiled an exclusive offer for HBO (US) over-the-top service HBO Now.

M&AReplay: European deals through April 8: Vivendi, Amazon, Orange,Cablevision: SNL Kagan provides a wrap-up of European media andcommunications deal announcements, completions and updates from April 4 toApril 8.

ConferenceChatter: Upfront and Personal: Freeform eyes late-night entry, looks to enhanceapp: Recently rebranded Freeform plans for late-night programming,a refreshed app and a new Marvel show.

M&AReplay: Deals through April 8: SNL Kagan provides a wrap-up ofmedia and communications deal announcements and completions from April 4 toApril 8.

Featured research 

Broadcast Investor: Univision could top $2B in gross spectrumauction proceeds from duopolies, channel sharing: Based on ouranalysis of Univision CommunicationsInc.'s owned-and-operated TV stations in the 120 MHz recoveryscenario, we estimate that the company could generate $1.96 billion in pretaxproceeds from 11 duopoly stations in eight markets in the FCC incentive auctionand potentially more through channel sharing arrangements in three non-duopolymarkets with major affiliate group owner Entravision Communications Corp.

Best of SNL:SNL Kagan research and analysis, editor's picks: Presenting theeditor's top picks from SNL Kagan's exclusive research and analysis for theweek ended April 8.