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European deals through April 7: 21st Century Fox, Amazon, Vodafone

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European deals through April 7: 21st Century Fox, Amazon, Vodafone

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

TOP NEWS

* EU antitrust regulators have granted unconditional approval for 21st Century Fox Inc.'s bid to take full control of Sky plc under the EU Merger Regulation, clearing Rupert Murdoch's first major hurdle. The European Commission concluded April 7 that the combination of Sky's pay TV operations in Austria, Germany, Ireland, Italy and the United Kingdom with Fox's film studio and TV channel operator raised "no competition concerns." Britain's culture secretary, Karen Bradley, has already referred the deal to media watchdog Ofcom and the Competition and Markets Authority, tasked with ensuring the deal does not violate media plurality and commitment to broadcasting standards.

M&A Media

* Vivendi SA said April 6 that it agreed to settle the remaining claims of a long-standing class-action lawsuit filed by shareholders in 2002 over a three-way merger. Under an agreement, Vivendi will pay $26.4 million, which represents one-third of the total $78 million the company will pay to resolve the entire litigation, including the judgments previously entered. The 2002 suit concerns Vivendi's merger with Seagram Co. and Canal Plus SA, in which Vivendi was accused of misleading shareholders regarding its financial health.

* ProSiebenSat.1 Media SE unit ProSiebenSat.1 PULS 4 GmbH completed the acquisition of Austrian media group ATV from Tele München Fernseh GmbH & Co. Produktionsgesellschaft, after regulators in Germany and Austria approved the transaction, according to an April 6 news release. ATV will remain a full-service broadcaster, with plans to combine its marketing, locations, technical operations and studios by the start of 2018. The restructuring is expected to result in the cutting of about 70 jobs within the same period.

* Amazon.com Inc. bought the Amazon.se domain in Sweden from a Stockholm-based graphics designer, Di Digital reported April 6. The Amazon.se domain was registered in 1997.

* Divimove, an online video company owned by RTL Group unit FremantleMedia Ltd., is acquiring VideoDays, which is a gathering of YouTubers, according to an April 5 news release. Divimove plans to develop and expand the event into other countries in Europe.

* John de Mol's media company Talpa Holding has once again increased its stake in publisher Telegraaf Media Groep NV, to 28.7%, Villamedia reported April 4. On April 3, more than 800,000 shares in TMG were traded on the stock exchange, almost all of which were bought by Talpa, resulting in the price per share to increase to €6.50 from €6.20.

M&A Communications

* Telia Co. AB acquired Swedish fiber network company SalaNet AB, Telia said April 6. Telia will, under the purchase deal, assume full responsibility for operating and developing SalaNet's fiber network in Sala, which serves about 2,700 customers.

* The Norwegian competition authority approved Telia's proposed acquisition of mobile operator Phonero, according to an April 3 news release. The deal is expected to be completed in the second quarter, with Phonero subscribers to be transferred to Telia's mobile network in the second half.

* Telia said April 3 that its agreement to sell its 60% stake in Central Asian Telecommunications Development BV, the holding company for CJSC Indigo Tajikistan that operates under the name Tcell, to the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development is no longer valid. It comes after The Anti-Monopoly Service in Tajikistan failed to issue a response to the proposed deal by the deadline agreed by Telia and AKFED.

* Nokia Corp. on April 3 released the final results of Nokia Solutions and Networks Oy's tender offer to acquire Finnish software company Comptel Corp. Shareholders representing about 90.51% of all shares and votes in Comptel have tendered their shares in favor of the deal. Nokia is extending the offer period, which began April 4 and will run until April 19.

* The European Commission on March 31 published a provisional and nonconfidential version of its decision granting conditional approval to the joint venture between Vodafone Group Plc's Vodafone Nederland and Liberty Global plc unit Ziggo NV. The commission approved the deal on Aug. 3, 2016, after Vodafone and Liberty Global offered to divest Vodafone Nederland's consumer fixed business prior to deal closing.