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SoftBank's US$40B investment offer; Axiata deal chatter; Toshiba's NuFlare bid

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Investment Banking Essentials: February 21

SoftBank's US$40B investment offer; Axiata deal chatter; Toshiba's NuFlare bid


* SoftBank Group Corp. offered to cover up to US$40 billion of the development costs of Indonesia's new capital city, Bloomberg News reports, citing Luhut Pandjaitan, the Indonesian coordinating minister for maritime affairs and investments. The Southeast Asian country is set to begin construction of a new capital city in Borneo Island later this year in a bid to decongest Jakarta.

* Norway's Telenor ASA and Malaysia's sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional Bhd. are in talks again about a potential transaction involving wireless telecom company Axiata Group Bhd., Bloomberg News reports, citing people familiar with the matter. Some of the scenarios being explored include Telenor buying part of the wealth fund's 37% stake in Axiata.

* Toshiba Corp. acquired an additional 32.3% stake in its partially owned subsidiary NuFlare Technology Inc., giving the Japanese conglomerate 84.66% ownership of NuFlare. Following the announcement, Hoya Corp., which offered to buy at least a 66.67% stake in the semiconductor manufacturing equipment provider in December 2019, scrapped its proposal.


* Activist investor Yoshiaki Murakami made an offer for Toshiba Machine Co. Ltd., in a bid seen to disrupt a deal to take over NuFlare Technology, Bloomberg News reports. Murakami made his offer after Toshiba Machine said it agreed to tender its shares in NuFlare to Toshiba Corp.

* In more Toshiba news, Chairman and CEO Nobuaki Kurumatani will concurrently serve as company president beginning April 1, as outgoing president Satoshi Tsunakawa will become a nonexecutive chairman.

* Fujitsu Ltd. is working with Upstream Security Ltd., an Israeli security solutions provider for connected vehicles, to collaborate in the development of security operations solutions for connected vehicles. The two companies are looking to roll out the solution in stages this year for car manufacturers and mobility companies in Japan, North America and Europe.


* SK Telecom Co. Ltd. CEO Park Jung-ho said that Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. and Kakao Corp. agreed that it is necessary to cooperate in the field of artificial intelligence, highlighting the importance of hyper-cooperation among competitors, ET News reports.


* Chinese video-sharing app Kuaishou reached a copyright partnership with Tencent Music Entertainment Group, according to 36Kr. The deal is reportedly the largest in the short video industry by far and covers Kuaishou subsidiaries such as AcFun.

* Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV is in talks to set up a 50/50 joint venture with Apple Inc. supplier Foxconn, officially known as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. Ltd., for the development and production of connected vehicles focused on the Chinese market.

* Li Zhengmao, former executive vice president of China Mobile Ltd., was appointed executive president and vice party secretary at China Telecom Corp. Ltd., The Paper reports. This appointment came after Gao Tongqing resigned from his positions as an executive director and executive vice president of China Telecom.

* Tesla Inc. switched to Baidu Inc.'s Baidu Maps from Tencent Maps as its provider of in-car mapping data services in China.

* Shares of Chinese audio content sharing platform Lizhi Inc. closed at US$11.63 apiece on its Jan. 17 trading debut on Nasdaq, KrASIA reports. The company, which trades under the ticker symbol LIZI, raised US$45 million in its IPO by offering 41 million shares.


* India is open to hearing wireless carriers' suggestions to help ease the payment of US$13 billion in overdue fees, Bloomberg News reports, citing a government official with knowledge of the matter. Scrapping interests or paying the amount in tranches are some ideas that the government can discuss.

* POCO, a smartphone sub-brand within Xiaomi Corp., will now become an independent brand, according to a tweet by Xiaomi India Managing Director Manu Kumar Jain. Launched in 2018, the POCO F1 phone became a hit with Indian customers with its high-end specs at a sub-US$300 price, reports.


* Thailand's minister of digital economy and society met with Facebook Inc. executives in Silicon Valley, Calif., to discuss possible collaborations on issues relating to privacy, fake news, commerce and tax collection, Manager reports. The minister will also meet with other Silicon Valley companies such as Google LLC, Cisco Systems Inc. and Amazon Web Services Inc. to discuss investment opportunities.

* Thai media conglomerate Mono Technology Public Co. Ltd. will lay off around 200 to 300 employees after the company failed to meet revenue targets, The Bangkok Insight reports.

* Thailand's National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission believes 5G adoption could contribute to 1.02% of the country's projected 2020 GDP of 17.3 trillion baht, Thairath reports.

* Gobind Singh Deo, the communication and multimedia minister of Malaysia, said there are 72 5G use cases being demonstrated across six states in the country, Malay Mail reports. The use cases cover different verticals such as agriculture, digital healthcare, education, media, manufacturing, oil, smart city, smart transportation and tourism.


* Foxtel Cable Television Pty. Ltd.'s upcoming streaming platform, code-named Project Ares, is preparing for an April or May release, according to The Australian Financial Review. The pay TV provider is also in talks with Viacom Inc. for an expanded video-on-demand agreement, with the negotiations centered around how much Foxtel will pay for the content.

* Nine Entertainment Co. Holdings Ltd. will donate A$10 million of its advertising profits to assist those have been hit by the bushfires, The Australian Financial Review reports. The initiative was announced shortly after Seven Group Holdings Ltd., parent company of Nine rival Seven West Media Ltd., pledged A$10 million to bushfire relief efforts.


New Zealand, Taiwan stocks led Asia-Pacific surge in 2019: The MSCI AC Asia Pacific All Cap Index, which tracks a broad range of equities across the region, climbed 16.3% in 2019 despite investor concerns over trade tensions and signs of slowing economic growth in China and across the globe.


Economics of TV & Film: 'Joker' all smiles as the top January video release: "Joker," the Academy Award-nominated film, is set to be the top home video release in January. We estimate the film will ship more than 4.3 million video units to retailers and bring in US$84.0 million in wholesale revenue for Warner Bros.

Global Multichannel: Stable broadband ARPU anticipated in Hong Kong in next 10 years: With a fixed-broadband penetration of 93.2% as of year-end 2019, Hong Kong's broadband average revenue per user by platform is expected to remain stable through 2029.

Nozomi Ibayashi, Myungran Ha, Emily Lai, Ed Eduard and Wil Hathaway contributed to this report.

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