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Asia-Pacific deals through Sept. 30: Toshiba, HTC, Alibaba

The Asia-Pacific edition of M&A Replay presents a biweekly wrap-up of media and communications deal announcements, completions and updates in the region.


* Toshiba Corp. on Sept. 28 said that it inked an agreement to sell Toshiba Memory Corp. to a consortium led by private equity firm Bain Capital for ¥2 trillion. Of the transaction's total amount, a ¥350.5 billion reinvestment will come from Toshiba, while Bain Capital will invest ¥212 billion; SK Group unit SK Hynix, ¥395 billion; Japanese company HOYA Corp., ¥27 billion; and several U.S. investors, ¥415.5 billion. The U.S. investors group is composed of Apple Inc., Kingston Technology Corp., Seagate Technology PLC and Dell Technologies Capital. Bain Capital aims to take Toshiba Memory public in two to three years, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg News.

* Google Inc. is acquiring part of HTC Corp.'s smartphone team, which helped develop the Google Pixel smartphone as part of a corporate agreement, as announced Sept. 20. The US$1.1 billion deal also includes a nonexclusive license for HTC intellectual property. HTC will also continue to build the virtual reality ecosystem to grow its VIVE business, while investing in other next-generation technologies, including Internet of Things, augmented reality and artificial intelligence.

* Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. said Sept. 25 that it has agreed to spend US$807 million to increase its ownership of Cainiao Smart Logistics Network Ltd. to a majority stake of 51% from 47% as part of its efforts to enhance delivery capabilities. In addition, the Chinese e-commerce giant announced that it plans to invest US$15.2 billion over the next five years to strengthen its global logistics network.

* ChiNext-listed TV shopping platform Happigo Home Shopping Co. Ltd. on Sept. 29 announced a deal to acquire 100% ownership of Hunan Satellite TV's online video platform Mango TV for 9.5 billion Chinese yuan, dragging down the platform's valuation to US$1.4 billion from a US$2 billion valuation in 2016. The platform has 47 million daily active users and 220 million average daily video views as of September, and also runs internet TV channel iMGo which aims to have one million customers by the end of the year.


* Tencent Holdings Ltd. reportedly acquired less than a 5% stake in Bluehole Studio, the South Korean games developer behind "PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds," Do News reported Sept. 28. Sources from South Korean investment banks said Tencent bought the stake from venture capital after the developer refused to sell.

* A group of investors led by Beijing-based digital map provider NavInfo Co. Ltd., which also includes Tencent Holdings Ltd. and Singaporean sovereign wealth fund GIC Pte. Ltd., dropped plans to acquire a 10% stake in Amsterdam-based mapping company HERE Technologies after the deal failed to get the clearance needed from the U.S. Committee on Foreign Investment, according to a Sept. 26 statement.

* Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation said Sept. 26 that it acquired a 10% stake in the NovaSAR satellite to give it better control over which data the satellite collects and to provide Australian scientists access to a radar technology that provides high-resolution images of Earth from space.

* Fujitsu Ltd. said Sept. 25 that it will off-load 54 million shares of Fuji Electric Co Ltd. to SMBC Nikko Securities Inc., effective Sept. 29. Fujitsu is currently a top shareholder of Fuji Electric but will cut its voting power in the company to 2.9% from 10.4%. Fujitsu will continue its partnership with Fuji Electric as the fourth-biggest shareholder of the company.

* Canyon Bridge Capital Partners, the China-backed private equity firm barred by the U.S. from buying U.S. chipmaker Lattice Semiconductor Corp., will acquire U.K. chip designer Imagination Technologies Group plc in an all-cash deal worth £550 million, as announced Sept. 22. Imagination will sell its MIPS CPU division to Tallwood MIPS, a company indirectly owned by Tallwood Venture Capital, for US$65 million.

* As expected, Maoyan, a Chinese online ticketing platform owned by Chinese TV and film company Enlight Media, announced Sept. 21 that it will merge with Tencent Holdings Ltd.-backed Beijing Weiying Technology Co. Ltd. Under the deal, Tencent will invest 900 million yuan in the new entity and Weiying will inject its 4-billion-yuan online movie and performance ticketing units into Maoyan in the first phase, and additional parts will subsequently be added leading to a total injection of 7 billion yuan of assets. The combined Maoyan-Weiying entity will control 43% of China's online ticketing market, China Money Network reported Sept. 22.

* Tencent Holdings Ltd. will spend HK$2.86 billion for a 4.95% stake in China International Capital Corp. Ltd. Under the deal, Tencent unit Tencent Mobility Ltd. will be issued 207,537,059 shares at HK$13.80 per share.


* Singapore Press Holdings has completed the sale of its stakes in the news and broadcasting companies Mediacorp Press Ltd. and Mediacorp TV Holdings Pte. Ltd., The Straits Times reported Sept. 30. After the divestment of 20% stakes in Mediacorp TV Holdings and 40% stakes in Mediacorp Press for a total sum of S$18 million, both companies are no longer associated companies of SPH.

* Hong Kong cinema operator Orange Sky Golden Harvest Entertainment (Holdings) Ltd. announced Sept. 29 that it would purchase the other 50% stake in its joint venture, Singapore's cinema chain Golden Village, from its counterpart Australia's Village Roadshow Ltd. for about HK$1 billion. Orange Sky Golden Harvest will then achieve full ownership of the chain, which operates 11 multiplexes and has a net asset value of HK$143 million.

* Win Corp. owner Bruce Gordon, through his investment vehicle Birketu, purchased 39 million shares from Seven Group Holdings Ltd. at 40 Australian cents each, The Australian reported Sept. 29.

* Singapore-based gaming and e-commerce company SEA Ltd., which recently filed for its US$1 billion U.S. IPO, acquired 82% of Vietnamese gourmet media platform Foody Corp. for about US$64 million, a source familiar with the matter told DealStreetAsia on Sept. 28.

* Oceanwide Holdings Co. and Zhejiang Huace Film & TV Co. Ltd. sold their 1.56 billion Chinese yuan stake in Legendary Entertainment LLC back to Dalian Wanda Group Co. Ltd. after the conglomerate's acquisition of the film producer last year, Bloomberg reported Sept. 27. Wanda promised more than a year prior to buy back shares with a 15% return if Legendary failed to go public within 12 months.

* India's GTPL Hathway Ltd. has acquired all remaining stakes in three cable TV companies, all three of which are now its wholly owned subsidiaries, Television Post reported Sept. 26. GTPL's board approved the acquisition of the remaining 49% stake each in GTPL Vidarbha Tele Link and GTPL Sharda Cable Network, while it purchased the remaining 8% stake in GTPL Blue Bell.

* Asia-based publisher Times Publishing Ltd. received an approval from Competition Commission of Singapore to acquire Singaporean and Malaysian distribution arms of Penguin Random House LLC for S$8 million, The Straits Times reported Sept. 26. Times must ensure that other retailers will obtain fair treatment in selling Penguin's publications to get the approval.

* Australian TV broadcaster Prime Media Group Ltd. confirmed Sept. 22 that it had held talks with Seven West Media Ltd. about a potential merger, which ended without a deal. Responding to local media speculation, Prime Media said that while it saw merit in a tie-up, the companies did not agree on certain terms.

* Fairfax Media Ltd. said Sept. 22 that it received approval from the Federal Court of Australia to hold a shareholder meeting to vote on the separation of its real estate website business Domain. If the separation is approved at the Nov. 2 meeting, shareholders will receive one Domain share for every 10 Fairfax shares held.

* CBS Corp. won the support of Ten Network Holdings Ltd. creditors for a takeover of the Australian broadcaster, after raising its offer to A$209.7 million from A$201.1 million, Reuters reported Sept. 19. The deal is expected to be completed after securing regulatory approvals, assuming that Lachlan Murdoch and Bruce Gordon, CBS' rival for Ten, do not pursue further legal challenges.

* Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd. announced Sept. 18 that it has completed the sale of its sports broadcasting business to Sony Pictures Networks India and its affiliates, upon receiving US$36.32 million from the latter as part of the second phase of the all-cash deal.


* SK Telecom Co. Ltd. and its ICT solutions subsidiary SK Telink Co. Ltd. agreed to a stock swap deal that will make the latter a wholly owned subsidiary of the former, ET News reported Sept. 29. As part of the deal, the telco will acquire a 14.14% stake in Telink in addition to the 85.86% stake that it already owns.

* Reliance Jio's parent company, Mukesh Ambani-owned Reliance Industries Ltd., is in talks to acquire cable operator DEN Networks Ltd., The Economic Times (India) reported Sept. 27, citing sources close to the development. The deal is likely to close, with DEN valued at 20 billion to 22 billion rupees.

* Japanese e-commerce and tech giant Rakuten Inc. said Sept. 26 that it will purchase the Freetel mobile virtual network operator business in Japan from Plus One Marketing Ltd. for ¥520 million. Plus One operates the Freetel mobile handset business along with the mobile virtual network operator, or MVNO. Rakuten said those operations would be split and it would acquire the MVNO business, including its user base. The split is expected to be effective Nov. 1.

* Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. announced Sept. 25 that it will buy back 1.5% or up to 30 million common stock for up to ¥150 billion between Sept. 26 and March 31, 2018. With the repurchase, the company seeks to improve capital efficiency as well as enhance shareholder returns.

* Bharti Airtel Ltd. shareholders have voted in favor of the company's proposed acquisition of Telenor India. 99.98% of Bharti Airtel's equity shareholders approved the merger, while 100% of unsecured creditors polled also gave their assent, the telco revealed in a Sept. 21 filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange.

* SoftBank Group Corp.'s U.S. unit Sprint Corp. and T-Mobile US Inc. are engaged in active discussions to merge the No. 3 and No. 4 U.S. wireless carriers, reported Sept. 19, citing sources close to the situation. The companies, however, are weeks away from finalizing the terms of a potential merger and have yet to set an exchange ratio for a deal, the sources said.