S&P Global Market Intelligence provides a wrap-up of European media and communications deal announcements, completions and updates from Jan. 7 to Jan. 11.
* Discovery Inc. said Jan. 8 that it acquired a 71% controlling stake in Play Sports Group, a digital sports media company behind cycling brands Global Cycling Network and Global Mountain Bike Network. Under the terms of the transaction, Play Sports Group founder and CEO Simon Wear and its team of 140 cycling experts across various divisions, including marketing and sales services, will join Discovery to form a cycling-focused division in the company. Discovery, which earlier acquired a 20% stake in Play Sports Group in February 2017, will leverage the acquisition to help build a worldwide cycling media ecosystem through its principal sport brand Eurosport.
* PPF Group NV withdrew its plan to acquire a 95% stake in Bulgaria's NOVA Broadcasting Group AD for about €185 million from Modern Times Group AB, Reuters reported Jan. 7. The Czech investment company's move follows the Bulgarian regulator's decision to reject the proposed deal due to competition concerns in the media services market. Eastern European Media Holdings SA, which owns the remaining 5% stake in NOVA, would have also sold its stake to PPF if the deal succeeded. MTG agreed to sell its stake in NOVA in February 2018.
* Channel 4 (UK) has acquired the remaining 50% stake it did not previously own in TV channel operator The Box Plus Network Ltd. from Heinrich Bauer Verlag KG, or Bauer Media Group. The deal is aligned with the British public broadcaster's strategy to "enhance engagement with youth audiences," Channel 4 COO and The Box Plus Network board member Keith Underwood said Jan. 8. Channel 4 expects the full acquisition to help boost the value of The Box Plus Network's music and entertainment channels, including 4Music, The Box, Box Upfront, Box Hits, Kiss, Magic and Kerrang.
* RTL Group signed an agreement to acquire control of U.K.-based video technology company Yospace Technologies Ltd. for up to $33 million before cash and debt adjustments, according to a Jan. 8 news release. RTL Group expects the acquisition to build its Total Video portfolio, create local streaming champions and grow its ad-tech business. The transaction is expected to close on Feb. 1.
* Within Reach Group BV, backed by private equity firm Waterland Private Equity Investments BV, acquired Danish telecommunications company ipnordic. The companies will accelerate growth opportunities including opening new growth markets in Europe, according to a Jan. 11 news release. Ipnordic is a business-to-business specialized full-service provider offering IP telephony, mobile, hardware and internet.
* Finnish telecom operator DNA Oyj has acquired European Mobile Operator Oy, which owns mobile virtual network operator Moi Mobiili Oy. According to a Jan. 11 statement, Moi Mobiili will keep its staff and remain as a separate brand from DNA post completion of the deal, which takes effect immediately. Moi Mobiili provides services to private and business customers through DNA's mobile network.
* Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. on Jan. 7 acquired Berlin-based streaming analytics startup Data Artisans GmbH in a €90 million deal. The two companies will continue to jointly develop Apache Flink, which processes large volumes of data, enabling users to gain real-time insights into streaming. Alibaba is one of the largest users of the platform, Data Artisans said.
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