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European deals through July 10: Alphabet, Vodafone, Hutchison


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European deals through July 10: Alphabet, Vodafone, Hutchison

The European edition ofM&A Replay presents a weekly wrap-up of European media and communicationsdeal announcements, completions and updates.


*SKY Network TelevisionLtd. shareholders voted in favor of the pay TV provider's NZ$5 billion merger withVodafone Group Plc'sNew Zealand unit, Stuff reported July 6. Prior to a special shareholders'meeting, the deal already secured the required 75% approval from SKY TVinvestors who have cast their votes in advance. The final count showed thatshareholders owning 0.04% of SKY TV shares voted against the merger. The dealstill needs to be approved by the country's Commerce Commission and theOverseas Investment Office.

M&A Media

*Patrick Dolan, the son of Cablevision Systems Corp. founder Charles Dolan, agreedto purchase amajority stake in Newsday Media Group from Altice NV, according to a July 7 news release. Under thedeal, an entity led by Patrick Dolan has bought 75% of Newsday Media, whichincludes the flagship Newsday paper,with Altice retaining a 25% interest in the company. Patrick Dolan, presidentof News 12 Networks, becomes president and majority owner of Newsday Media,while his father will hold a small financial interest in the company and serveon its board of directors. The move follows Altice's June closing on its $17.7billion acquisition of Cablevision, which was combined withSuddenlinkCommunications. Also as part of the agreement, Altice USA's OptimumOnline customers will continue to receive access to and the Newsdaymobile apps. Cablevision purchased Newsday in 2008 from

* AlphabetInc. is beefing up its artificial intelligence program with theacquisition ofMoodstocks SAS, a Paris-based machine-learning company that develops imagerecognition technology. Alphabet announced the deal in a July 6 blog post written in French.Moodstocks, meanwhile, said on its website that the company will build imagerecognition tools as a part of Alphabet unit Google Inc.

* TencentHoldings Ltd. is in talks with potential investors to take part in its $8.6billion purchase of Finnish mobile game developer Supercell Oy, The Wall Street Journal reported July 5,citing people with knowledge of the matter. Adding minority investors wouldhelp reduce the financial risks of the purchase. The Chinese tech giant is indiscussions with the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, China InvestmentCorp. and Hillhouse Capital Group as potential investors. Tencent is buying an84.3% stake in the "Clash of Clans" maker from Japan's

M&A Communications

*Telefónica SAsold a 1.51% stake inChina Unicom for €322million, Agence France-Presse reported July 10. The Spanish telco sold 361.8million shares at HK$7.80 per share, but will maintain a stake ownership ofabout 1% in the China Unicom. The move is part of Telefónica's efforts tomanage its assets and deleverage its balance sheet. The share sale comes afterthe European Commission blocked CK Hutchison Holdings Ltd.'s proposed acquisition ofTelefónica's U.K. unit O2. The Spanish carrier could have gained €12.1 billionfrom the deal, which would have been used to reduce its €49.9 billion debt.

*Spanish conglomerate Abengoa SA has inked an agreement to its fiber services subsidiaryAbentel to EricssonAB. The deal will enable Ericsson to expand its range of solutionsand create a global hub for fiber services, according to a July 6 news release.About 500 Abentel employees will join the Swedish tech giant upon the deal'scompletion, which is expected during the third quarter of 2016, subject to theapproval of Spain's antitrust authority. In a separate July 6 release, Abengoasaid the transaction is part of a divestiture plan that seeks to reduce thecompany's debt.

*The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets has a request with the EuropeanCommission to allow it to probe into the planned merger between Vodafone'sVodafone Nederlandand Liberty Globalplc unit ZiggoNV. In a July 6 statement, the ACM said that it expects thecommission's decision by early August on which of the two regulatory bodieswill handle the deal review. The EC earlier set a July 19 deadline for itsruling on the proposed transaction.

*SES SA unit SESPlatform Services has completed its merger with digital media services companyRR Media Ltd. in adeal worth about $242 million. Luxembourg-based SES said July 6 that thecombined company will be known as MX1 and will become part of the SES MediaSolutions division together with German HD platform . MX1 will seek to offerdigital video and media end-to-end solutions for media companies. It willdistribute more than 1,000 TV channels, manage playout for 440 channels anddeliver content to more than 120 subscription video-on-demand services. FormerRR Media CEO Avi Cohen will be MX1's chief executive.

*French operator IliadSA said July 5 that it struck an agreement with CK Hutchison andVimpelCom Ltd. toacquire assets to bedisposed as part of concessions to merge the H3G and subsidiaries in Italy. The deal, subject to approval by the European Commissionas well as the EC's approval of the H3G/WIND transaction, will enable Iliad tobecome the fourth mobile network operator in Italy. Among the agreed terms isthe transfer of a balanced set of 2x35MHz 3G/4G frequencies for €450 million, tobe paid between 2017 and 2019. Iliad will also acquire several thousands ofmacro sites in densely populated areas that are either offered by H3G/WIND orrented from others. Meanwhile, the company said that majority shareholderXavier Niel does not have voting rights in Telecom Italia SpA, and will sell his stake worth lessthan €25 million in the Italian operator.