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European deals: EU clears Apple-Shazam deal; Hutchison completes Wind Tre buyout

S&P Global Market Intelligence provides a wrap-up of European media and communications deal announcements, completions and updates from Sept. 3 to Sept. 7.

TOP NEWS

* The European Commission has cleared Apple Inc.'s proposed acquisition of British music recognition app Shazam Entertainment Ltd. While approving the deal, the commission concluded that the merger would not adversely affect competition in the European Economic Area or any substantial part of it, according to a Sept. 6 news release. "After thoroughly analyzing Shazam's user and music data, we found that their acquisition by Apple would not reduce competition in the digital music streaming market," EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said.

In December 2017, Apple confirmed that it had agreed to buy Shazam. While financial details were not disclosed, reports have put the price at about $400 million.

* VEON Ltd. has completed the sale of its 50% stake in Wind Tre SpA to CK Hutchison Holdings Ltd., VEON announced Sept. 7. The company will use the €2.45 billion sale proceeds to reduce debt and for general corporate purposes. CK Hutchison, which now becomes sole owner of Wind Tre, confirmed the deal's completion in a separate Sept. 7 news release.

The European Commission recently approved the transaction after CK Hutchison took over pre-existing commitments previously provided by VEON and CK Hutchison when the Italian operator was formed in 2016.

M&A media

* Newen Studios Group is acquiring equity stakes in Netherlands' Pupkin and in Denmark's Nimbus, TBI Vision reported Sept. 7. The TF1 Group unit's acquisition of the two production companies is part of the company's plan to expand its footprint and add content to its distribution network.

* Multiplatform media company Future PLC said Sept. 5 that it has completed the purchase of the business-to-consumer operations of U.S. digital publisher Purch Inc. The acquisition is expected to boost Future's efforts to build a global specialist media platform.

* Swedish media group Bonnier AB said Sept. 3 that its business-to-business unit is acquiring Danish health portal Netdoktor. Bonnier expects the acquisition to strengthen its position in digital health publishing.

M&A communications

* Dutch technology company ICT Group NV said Sept. 7 that it has acquired the remaining 49% of the shares of Eindhoven-based startup ICT Mobile. The software solutions of ICT Mobile, together with software solutions of other business units within ICT Netherlands, will be consolidated into a new entity, OrangeNXT.

* French aerospace and defense giant Thales SA's proposed acquisition of digital security firm Gemalto NV has received regulatory clearance from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S., the two companies said Sept. 5. Thales and Gemalto have now obtained six of the 14 regulatory clearances required for the deal, including securing antitrust clearances in China, Israel and Turkey as well as obtaining clearances relating to foreign investments in Australia and Canada.

* Ericsson said Sept. 4 that it is acquiring 100% of the shares in U.S. service orchestration specialist Cenx Inc. The acquisition is expected to strengthen Ericsson's position in the operations support systems and managed services markets.

* Altice Europe NV has completed the sale of 75% of the newly formed company Towers of Portugal to a consortium that includes Morgan Stanley Infrastructure Partners and Horizon Equity Partners, according to a Sept. 4 news release. The tower company's assets include 2,961 sites previously operated by Altice Portugal SA unit MEO.

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