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SoftBank/WeWork deal terms; Apple's Japan Display rescue; Indian telcos' merger


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SoftBank/WeWork deal terms; Apple's Japan Display rescue; Indian telcos' merger


* SoftBank Group Corp. will own approximately 80% of WeWork Cos. Inc. as part of a US$9.5 billion funding package that includes a tender offer and additional investment in the cash-strapped coworking space provider. SoftBank COO Marcelo Claure will be appointed as WeWork's executive chairman as part of the deal.

* Apple Inc. will be among a group of backers expected to provide financial support to cash-strapped Japan Display Inc. According to the Nikkei Asian Review, a consortium of unidentified clients agreed to a ¥40 billion relief package for Japan Display, with the iPhone maker responsible for most of the lifeline. The new deal involves faster payments for purchases by Apple and other forms of financial support.

* The Indian government approved a revival package for state-backed operators Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd. under which MTNL will merge with BSNL and act as its subsidiary, The Economic Times (India) reports, citing Telecommunications Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad. The government will also put in 299.37 billion Indian rupees to make both telcos competitive.

* WeWork's failed initial public offering and the poor market performance of other SoftBank Group-backed listings are placing the Japanese company's much anticipated Vision Fund 2, and other potential floats, under the microscope, analysts said.


* Intel Corp. sued Fortress Investment Group LLC over claims that the private equity firm accumulated patents to hold up tech companies through lawsuits. The tech giant claimed that SoftBank Group-owned Fortress and its "patent assertion entities" used their "ill-gotten power" to force suppliers of electronic device components and software to "pay undeserved and inflated royalties," according to the complaint filed with a U.S. district court.

* SoftBank Group is leading a 190 million reais funding round for Brazil-based marketplace integrator Olist, Reuters reports, citing a company statement. Olist CEO and founder Tiago Dalvi said the company plans to use a portion of the capital to expand the number of sellers it serves to 100,000 in two years from the current 7,000.

* Hitachi Ltd. reached an agreement with Australia's New South Wales government to build a technology center in Western Sydney. The facility is scheduled to open in 2023.


* Kakao Pay Corp. and Samsung Fire & Marine Insurance Co. Ltd. will set up a digital nonlife insurance joint venture by the end of 2019, Yonhap News Agency reports, citing industry sources. Meanwhile, Carrot General Insurance, a digital insurance joint venture of Hanwha General Insurance Co. Ltd., SK Telecom Co. Ltd. and Hyundai Motor Co., will start operation in early 2020.

* Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. released a software update to fix the fingerprint recognition problems of its Galaxy S10 and Note10 smartphones, Financial News reports. The update was released following reports that nonregistered fingerprints can unlock the handsets using a third-party screen protector.

* LG U+ signed a memorandum of understanding with South Korea's Ministry of Education to bring augmented and virtual reality technologies to classrooms, ZDNet Korea reports. As part of the agreement, the telco will offer its AR and VR-based educational content platforms to schools.


* Tencent Holdings Ltd. reached a cooperation framework with online ticketing service Maoyan Entertainment to create an all-inclusive entertainment and consumption platform, Tencent News reports. Under the agreement, Maoyan's platform will be embedded in Tencent Video to enhance online-to-offline cooperation. The companies will also share membership databases.

* Tencent's social media and messaging app WeChat launched a new payment feature that allows users to send and receive money using a mobile phone number, TechNode reports. The sender can transfer money by entering the receiver's phone number. The funds will then be deposited into the receiver's WeChat wallet.

* Gao Xiaosong stepped down as chairman of Alibaba Music and was succeeded by Zhu Shunyan, president and COO of Alibaba subsidiary UCWeb Inc., The Paper reports. Gao remains a director of Alibaba Music.

* Chinese video-sharing app Kuaishou inked an agreement with local broadcaster Jiangxi TV to cooperate on short video content management, technological development and commercial distribution, Xinhua News reports.

* China's State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television approved a new batch of 21 games for publication. NetEase Inc., Perfect World Co. Ltd. and miHoYo all have one game included in the list.

* Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. said it has become a strategic member of the software open-source foundation, Eclipse Foundation, to participate more in the open-source projects and intensify its focus on its Europe business.

* Sandbox VR Inc., a Hong Kong-founded startup specializing in immersive virtual reality, secured US$11 million in funding from investors including Hollywood personalities Katy Perry, Orlando Bloom and Will Smith.


* Samsung India Electronics Pvt. Ltd. outsourced production of some of its smartphone models to DBG Technology Co. Ltd., an Indo-Chinese contract manufacturing joint venture, to meet high demands for popular handset models. According to sources cited by The Economic Times (India), Samsung began exporting India-made phones to Middle East, Africa and Vietnam almost three years ahead of schedule. The company is in talks with other contract manufacturers to expand its local production as its existing facility is already running at full capacity.


* Singapore-based online realtor PropertyGuru Ltd. called off its IPO in Australia, citing lackluster demand from global investors in the technology sector, The Australian Financial Review's Street Talk reports. PropertyGuru investors are expected to consider private capital alternatives.

* Thailand's National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission expects to hold an auction for the country's four 5G spectrum bands in February 2020, Thairath reports.

* Johnny Plate has officially been appointed as the new minister of Indonesia's Ministry of Communication and Informatics, Detik reports. Plate replaces Rudiantara.

* Thai satellite operator Thaicom PCL wants to extend its Thaicom 8 and Thaicom 9 contracts with the government, RYT9 reports. It also urged the local government to consider the use of satellite orbits on a first-come, first-served basis when discussing the upcoming legislation.


* Seven West Media Ltd. unveiled its content-driven growth strategy for 2020, which include launching a slew of new shows including "Mega Mini Golf," "Big Brother," "Australia's Got Talent: The Champions," "Plate of Origin," "Pooch Perfect" and "Between Two Worlds." Managing Director and CEO James Warburton said in order to support the new content strategy, the company will invest 30% more in its tentpole programs and franchises.


Data Dispatch: IBM looks to cloud as its largest business unit continues to falter: IBM's pivot towards a hybrid cloud future showed signs of early success in the third quarter and could eventually offset continued declines in systems hardware sales, analysts said.


Technology: Global smart homes: Decent growth in 2019, but penetration still skimpy: The number of global smart homes is increasing, although total penetration remains quite low, expected to be only 3% in 2019.


Microsoft's cloud services drive fiscal Q1'20 revenue growth: Microsoft on Oct. 23 reported total revenue of US$33.06 billion for its fiscal first quarter ended Sept. 30, up 14% from US$29.08 billion from the prior-year period.

Nozomi Ibayashi, Myungran Ha, Emily Lai, Ed Eduard and Wil Hathaway 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.