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SoftBank's WeWork bailout plan; Sprint/T-Mobile deal update; Youdao IPO pricing


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SoftBank's WeWork bailout plan; Sprint/T-Mobile deal update; Youdao IPO pricing


* WeWork Cos. Inc. shareholder SoftBank Group Corp. is set to provide financing support of approximately US$5 billion to the coworking giant's parent, The We Co., which is facing a cash crunch after its recently postponed IPO, Nikkei Asian Review reported. The Japanese group plans to invest in the office-sharing company directly instead of using its roughly US$100 billion SoftBank Vision Fund LP. The news comes shortly after reported that SoftBank is in talks with JPMorgan Chase & Co. for an emergency financing package for WeWork.

* The U.S. Federal Communications Commission approved the T-Mobile US Inc./Sprint Corp. merger Oct. 16. The U.S. Department of Justice, the other federal entity that was charged with approving the deal, conditionally approved the deal in July. SoftBank Group is the parent company of Sprint.

* NetEase Inc.'s online education arm Youdao plans to offer 5.6 million American depositary shares with a price range between US$15 and US$18 per share. At the midpoint of that range, Youdao estimates it would raise about US$208.5 million in net proceeds, or US$221.3 million if the underwriters exercise their option to purchase additional shares in full. The Hangzhou-based company plans to list its class A common stock on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DAO.


* Rakuten Inc.'s video-on-demand service, Rakuten TV, is launching a free, ad-supported channel in Europe as it looks to expand in the region. Alongside an existing mix of rental and download titles, users can access a free section of the company's newly redesigned streaming app, which includes Hollywood movies and exclusive shows.

* 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 reports.


* Cisco Systems Inc. plans to expand its investment in South Korea through the creation of a fund that will support the digitization efforts of the local government, ZDNet Korea reports. Pending approval, the company will launch the fund Nov. 1.


* Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. struck deals with several mobile operators in Europe to support their 5G rollouts despite increased scrutiny in the region, Reuters reports. Huawei said half of its 65 commercial deals are with European clients.

* In more Huawei news, the company is redeploying senior personnel with U.S. citizenship or residency due to growing concerns that they may be approached by American intelligence who can exploit the potential conflict of interest, multiple sources told Nikkei Asian Review. Some of the senior executives who reportedly left the company due to the concerns include Sunhom Steve Paak, chief technology officer of Huawei subsidiary HiSilicon(Shanghai) Technologies Co. Ltd., and Wang Hsin-shih, a technology development team leader at Huawei.

* Chinese AI startup Megvii Technology Ltd., which was recently placed on a trade blacklist by the U.S., is proceeding with its IPO plans in Hong Kong and is eyeing a listing hearing in early November, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg News.

* Taiwanese artificial intelligence company Appier Inc. acquired Tokyo-based Emotion Intelligence Inc., or Emin, an AI solutions provider that predicts online consumer purchasing behavior, for an undisclosed sum. As part of the deal, Emin's ZenClerk solution will be renamed AiDeal. The majority-cash acquisition will see some of Emin's key angel investors joining Appier's shareholder roster.

* 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 reports, citing 36Kr. The company will use the new capital to upgrade products and attract new clients.

* China Literature Ltd. is working with The Walt Disney Co. to launch Star Wars e-books and novels written by Chinese writers, STCN News reports. The books will be available in all of China Literature's platforms, including QQ reader and Qidian.

* Xiaomi Corp. is collaborating with Taipei-based consumer electronics retailer Tsann Kuen Enterprise Co. Ltd. to further expand its presence in Taiwan, UDN reports. The partnership will allow Xiaomi to sell its smartphones and other products in Tsann Kuen's stores across the country.


* Vodafone Idea Ltd. completed the demerger of its fiber infrastructure business by transferring the assets to its wholly owned subsidiary Vodafone Towers Ltd.

* Discovery Communications India promoted Hemant Arora to head of new revenue streams, Television Post reports. Prior to the promotion, Arora was a senior sales, marketing and business management professional.


* Indonesia-based telecom operator XL Axiata is looking to sell some of its 4,500 base transceiver station towers as the company no longer considers the assets strategic, CNBC Indonesia reports. An XL Axiata executive said that there is no exact timeline yet for the sale of the towers.

* Users of MAXStream, the video streaming app of Indonesian telco PT Telekomunikasi Selular, can now watch HBO Go programs on the platform, Detik reports. Users can access HBO Go in MAXStream even without an HBO subscription.

* Thai internet provider Triple T Broadband PCL is working with South Korea's KT Corp. to launch a new streaming service in Thailand, Krungthep Turakij reports. The partners expect the service to be available by the second quarter of 2020.

* StarHub Ltd. is bringing Google LLC's Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL smartphones to Singapore. The new handsets will be available in StarHub's online stores and brick-and-mortar shops beginning Oct. 26.

* Microsoft Corp. will open two cloud-platform courses at 25 Thai universities, Krungthep Turakij reports. Students who successfully complete the courses will receive Microsoft certificates in addition to their diplomas.


* AGL Energy Ltd. offered to acquire Australian regional telecom operator Southern Phone Co. Ltd. for A$27.5 million in cash. Under the conditional agreement, the utility company intends to buy all of Southern Phone's share capital from the latter's shareholders, namely 35 local councils. AGL would retain Southern Phone's business operations, brand, and product roster if the deal pushes through.

* Canva Inc., an Australian online design platform, is now valued at US$3.2 billion after it raised US$85 million in a funding round led by venture capital firm Bond Capital Management LP, Bloomberg News reports. Other investors in the round include General Catalyst Partners, Bessemer Venture Partners, Blackbird Ventures and Sequoia Capital China.


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Joji Sakurai, Hyegyu Park, Frances Wang, Ed Eduard and Patrick Tibke contributed to this report. The Daily Dose has an editorial deadline of 7 a.m. Hong Kong time. Some external links may require a subscription. Links are current as of publication time, and we are not responsible if those links are unavailable later.