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SoftBank to own 80% stake in WeWork; Apple to provide more aid to Japan Display

S&P Global Market Intelligence provides a roundup of recent investment deals and updates in the Asia-Pacific technology, media and communications sector.

Top news

* SoftBank Group Corp. will own approximately 80% of WeWork Companies 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 Nikkei Asian Review, a consortium of clients agreed to a ¥40 billion relief package for Japan Display, with the iPhone maker responsible for the majority of the lifeline. The new deal involves faster payments for purchases by Apple and other forms of financial support.

* Samsung Display Co. Ltd. confirmed it will invest 13.1 trillion South Korean won by 2025 on facilities and research to produce next-generation display screens, Reuters reported, citing a statement. The Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. unit will spend the investment on converting one of its LCD production lines into a facility for mass-producing quantum-dot screens. The company plans to begin operating its quantum-dot line from 2021 with a target capacity of 30,000 sheets per month.

* Hong Kong's Office of the Communications Authority raised HK$1 billion after it auctioned off a total of 200 MHz of 5G spectrum to four mobile network operators, The Standard reported. China Mobile Hong Kong Co. Ltd. secured the 60 MHz bandwidth in the 3.5 GHz frequency band with an HK$300 million bid. Hong Kong Telecommunications (HKT) Ltd. and SmarTone Telecommunications Holdings Ltd. both won 50 GHz bandwidth for HK$252 million each, while Hutchison Telecommunications (Hong Kong) Ltd. obtained 40 MHz bandwidth for HK$202 million.

Startup funding

* Beijing-based artificial intelligence startup Infimind secured more than 100 million yuan from its recently completed series A funding round led by Sequoia Capital China, KrASIA reported, citing 36Kr. The company will use the new capital to upgrade products and attract new clients.

* Indonesia-based offline-to-online advertising technology startup StickEarn raised US$5.5 million from its series A funding round, Bareksa reported. Investors in the round include venture capital firm East Ventures, ride-hailing company GrabTaxi Holdings Pte. Ltd. and digital wallet OVO.

Capital investments

* Qutoutiao Inc. said its e-book business Midu raised US$100 million in a series B financing round led by CMC Capital Partners. According to Sina, the company intends to use the fresh capital for acquiring content, constructing a content creator ecosystem and marketing purposes.

* Cool Japan Fund LP, a state-backed fund to promote Japanese culture overseas, will invest roughly US$50 million in PT Go-Jek Indonesia to bring Japanese content to the Indonesian ride-hailing app's new video-streaming service, Nikkei Asian Review reported.

* Esign, a Chinese e-signature software company, raised about US$100 million in its series C funding round led by Ant Financial Services Group, KrASIA reported. Other investors in the round include venture capital firms Gobi China and Eminence Ventures.

* Xforceplus, a Chinese corporate software-as-a-service solutions provider, secured US$100 million in its series C funding round led by Temasek Holdings (Pte.) Ltd., DealStreetAsia reported. Other investors in the round included Hillhouse Capital Group Holdings Ltd. and Eastern Bell Capital.

Other funding

* Indian digital wallet Paytm Mobile Solutions Pvt. Ltd. is nearing a deal to secure US$2 billion of new financing from investors including SoftBank Group and Ant Financial, a person familiar with the matter told Bloomberg News. The funding will be split evenly between equity and debt, valuing Paytm at US$16 billion, the person said.

* China Unicom is setting up a 10 billion yuan fund to provide financial support to the video production, smart homes and smart devices industries, Sina reported. Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., Baidu Inc. and Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. are some of the companies that have pledged to join the fund.

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