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China may approve Qualcomm/NXP deal; Bharti Airtel closes Telenor India purchase

S&P Global Market Intelligence provides a wrap-up of European media and communications deal announcements, completions and updates from May 14 to May 18.


* China could grant approval to U.S. chipmaker Qualcomm Inc.'s $44 billion takeover of Dutch chipmaker NXP Semiconductors NV, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing a Beijing official. The pending Qualcomm/NXP deal had yet to see any concrete breakthrough in China, Reuters reported, citing sources. Eight of the nine required global regulators have approved the deal, with only the Chinese Ministry of Commerce's approval pending.

* Indian telecom giant Bharti Airtel Ltd. has completed the acquisition of Telenor ASA's India unit after receiving all regulatory and statutory approvals, the company said in a news release shared on the BSE Ltd. Bharti Airtel will start integrating Telenor's Indian operations in seven telecom circles across India. The consolidation will take Airtel's customer base to over 330 million in India. Bharti Airtel will also add 5 MHz to 7.2 MHz of Telenor's spectrum in the 1800 band in each of the seven circles, adding network capacity, the release said.

M&A media

* Alphabet Inc. unit Google Inc. closed on the purchase of the entire mixed-use Bolands Quay scheme in Dublin's docklands, which was reported to be in the works with National Asset Management Agency-appointed receiver Savills Ireland since November 2017. The transaction is said to be worth about €300 million, Dublin's Irish Independent reported. The scheme will span 28,000 square meters of office space, 46 apartments, cafes and cultural space. The technology giant will use the office space and tap a commercial leasing agent to lease out the commercial premises and apartments.

* Investment group Mediawan SA said May 16 that it finalized the acquisition of a 51% stake in ON Entertainment. Incorporating Groupe AB's 5%, Mediawan will hold a 51% share capital stake, alongside the founders and remaining managers, with a total cash out of €51 million for Mediawan, for the acquisition of shares and a €16 million share capital increase.

* Mediapro will acquire Slovenian production company VPF PRO for about €5 million to enter the eastern European market, TBI Vision reported May 16, citing Expansion. VPF PRO's approximately 100 employees will be part of the Spanish broadcaster, as well as of its parent company Imagina Media Audiovisual SL.

* Modern Times Group AB has completed the sale of its 75% stake in media entertainment management company Trace Partners SAS to TPG Growth for €30 million, according to a May 15 news release.

M&A communications

* Vodafone Group PLC unit Vodafone New Zealand Ltd. is set to gain full ownership of Farmside, the rural broadband and satellite arm of New Zealand-based telecom operator TeamTalk Ltd. This comes after TeamTalk and Vodafone NZ reached an agreement that will see Vodafone paying NZ$3 million to acquire the remaining 30% stake it does not own in BayCity Communications Ltd., which trades as Farmside. In April 2017, Vodafone NZ acquired a 70% stake in Farmside for NZ$10 million in cash. The deal included the option to sell the remaining stake to Vodafone at any time within three years. Vodafone NZ will gain full ownership of Farmside on May 31.

* French investment firm Antin Infrastructure Partners struck a deal to buy Ufinet Telecom Holding SLU's Spanish business from private equity firm Cinven, reported May 14. Ufinet Spain is a wholesale fiber platform with a nationwide long-haul network. The transaction is expected to result in the separation of the Ufinet Group into two separate companies, with Ufinet Spain purchased by Antin and the international operations of Ufinet bought by the Sixth Cinven Fund.

* The Polish Office of Competition and Consumer Protection has green-lighted Cyfrowy Polsat SA's proposed takeover of Netia SA, Broadband TV News reported May 14.

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