14 May 2018
Saudi Arabia's ambitious reform drive takes another step forwards this week, with the launch of a new public TV channel that seeks to lure young viewers and project a modern image beyond the kingdom's borders.
Branded “SBC", the channel will broadcast exclusive content including films, talk shows and cooking programs.
The move follows the launch earlier this month of a $35-billion drive to turn Saudi Arabia into a culture and entertainment hub by 2020.
By Maja Jovanovska, Tamas Bodoky, and Aubrey Belford
15 May 2018
Hungarians with links to the country’s pro-government media have embarked on a mass buy-up of news outlets in Macedonia, part of what appears to be a concerted push into the Balkans by media companies loyal to right-wing Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
Company registration documents obtained by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) and partners show that, since last spring, two former senior executives of Hungarian public television network Magyar Televízió (MTV) set up Macedonian companies that then made the investments in the country’s media.
2 May 2018
Canadian media company Stingray Digital Group Inc (RAYa.TO) on Wednesday said it would buy Newfoundland Capital Corp (NCCa.TO) for about C$506 million ($393.01 million), including debt, adding radio broadcasting assets to its business.
Stingray has offered Newfoundland Capital shareholders C$14.75 per share held, a 16 percent premium to Newfoundland’s close on Tuesday.
27 April 2018
Mexican broadcaster Grupo Televisa is still considering spinning off assets, particularly its cable division, executives said on Friday.
Speaking on the call with analysts, executives at the broadcaster (TLVACPO.MX) said the company will likely conclude the decision making process this year.
By Ruchi Kumar
2 April 2018
There still aren’t many newsstands in Kabul. And there still aren’t many print newspapers or magazines in circulation to fill those stands — the once-vibrant media industry of Afghanistan was among the many sectors that had suffered through years of conflict. But in the past decade and a half, mass media, especially broadcast sources, has grown from just a few Taliban-controlled regime outlets to thousands of radio, television, and magazine, and newspaper sources.
Business DNA, a new English-language financial magazine launched by a Kabul-based consulting firm Pearl Horizon, is setting its sights on potential readers with a business interest in stories about growing industries in Afghanistan, hoping a fresh lens will encourage entrepreneurship within the country and investment in new businesses.
23 March 2018
U.S. television and broadband company Liberty Global (LBTYA.O) has scrapped a $876 million preliminary deal to buy Polish peer Multimedia Polska, the companies said on Friday.
22 March 2018
Turkey’s Dogan Holding has started talks to sell its $890 million media arm to an unlisted firm seen as close to Tayyip Erdogan, a deal likely to cement media support for the president ahead of 2019 elections.
Long viewed as a pillar of the secular establishment, Dogan Media owns the top-selling Hurriyet daily, broadcaster CNN Turk, TV channels and radio stations. Its acquisition by Demiroren Holding, which owns two pro-government dailies, will put the media overwhelmingly in Erdogan’s corner.
Hurriyet has a circulation of 300,000 and is one of the few major Turkish newspapers that is not seen as pro-Erdogan. Most opposition papers are leftist publications that lack a mass-market readership.
9 February 2018
Daily Mirror publisher Trinity Mirror scooped up titles including the Daily Express, Daily Star and OK! magazine for GBP 127m (US$ 177m) on Friday in the biggest shake up of Britain’s cut-throat newspaper industry in decades.
The takeover by Britain’s largest news publisher unites tabloids from opposite ends of the political spectrum, and with conflicting views on Brexit, to create a company better able to cope with readers and advertisers moving online.
27 February 2018
Certain lenders and noteholders of iHeartMediaInc (IHRT.PK) on Monday said John Malone’s Liberty Media Corp (FWONA.O) proposed to buy a 40 percent stake in a restructured version of iHeart for US$ 1.16bn. The offer comes less than a month after struggling radio station owner iHeart skipped a US$ 106m interest payment, triggering a 30-day grace period to buy more time to restructure its US$ 20bn debt and avoid bankruptcy.
22 February 2018
Gannett reported disappointing fourth quarter results today as gains in its digital businesses fell far short of covering deep declines in advertising and wobbly circulation revenues as well.
The largest U.S. publisher — with 110 dailies — posted a loss of US$ 13.6m, though that could be attributed to an unusual tax expense of US$ 42.8m as laws changed. The company remains comfortably profitable as measured by EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization).
22 January 2018
An ultraconservative news agency said Sunday that it has acquired the media conglomerate behind Thailand’s No. 2 English-language newspaper to “rescue” it from insolvency.
A week after becoming the new owner of Nation Multimedia Group, Sontiyan Chuenruetainaidhama, founder of conservative outlets T News and INN News, said it had acquired the company to keep it afloat.
25 January 2018
The E.W. Scripps Co. -- WCPO's parent company -- is looking to sell its 34 radio stations while tripling the size of a cost-cutting effort that began last fall.
“The time is right to find a new owner for our radio group that can provide the focus and resources the stations and their creative, devoted employees deserve,” Scripps CEO Adam Symson said in a press release. “The enterprise-wide restructuring positions us well for continued growth while maintaining high-quality journalism as our central focus.”
Apple’s iCloud Services In China Operated By Local Company
10 January 2018
Apple's iCloud services in mainland China will be operated by a Chinese company from next month, the tech giant has confirmed. Apple said it had made the move to comply with the country's cloud computing regulations. iCloud accounts registered outside of China are not affected. See more from BBC
Thiel Makes Offer for Gawker
12 January 2018
Reuters reported that venture capitalist Peter Thiel has made an offer for Gawker, hoping to overcome legal hurdles and rival bidders for the online news site the billionaire helped shutter by funding litigation against it, people familiar with the matter said on Thursday.
Gawker, which has been inactive for more than a year, is conducting an auction of its remaining assets, including its domain names and nearly 200,000 archived articles. Most of its assets, including its sister pages Deadspin, a sports site, and Jezebel, a feminist blog, were bought in 2016 for $135 million by media company Univision Holdings Inc (UVN.N).
Tele2 Eyes Com Hem
11 January 2018
Tele2, Sweden’s second-largest mobile-phone operator, has made a SEK 27bn (US$ 3.3bn) approach to buy Com Hem, a compatriot television service, Economist Espresso reported. The boards of the companies expounded the virtues of “vertical integration”, helping users, for example, more easily receive video on their phones—and potentially allowing cost savings of SEK 900m over five years.
Sales at Singapore Press Tumble
By Ken Doctor
10 January 2018
Singapore Press Holdings — publisher of its flagship Straits Times — is confronting the worldwide downturn in newspaper business fortunes. The large daily (383,000 daily circulation, print and digital) and its well-regarded parent SPH saw some tough numbers last year: down 16.9% in ad revenue, 13% in overall revenue and five percent in circulation revenue for the fiscal year ending September 2017. Profits suffered as well, down 33%. See NiemenLab story
Boston Herald Publisher Announces Sale of Newspaper
9 December 2017
Boston Herald Publisher Patrick J. Purcell announced today that the media company with its flagship Boston Herald tabloid has reached an agreement with GateHouse Media, LLC for them to acquire the company's operational assets. The purchase is subject to court approval.
The announcement came on 8 December 2017 as Purcell gathered management and staff in the Herald newspaper's offices on Fargo Street in Boston's Seaport District. He spoke first with his long-time management team and immediately following with staff from across all departments.
Univision’s Fusion Expands to Mexico
7 December 2017
Fusion Media Group, owned by the U.S. broadcaster Univision Holdings Inc., is expanding to Mexico in a deal with Grupo Televisa SAB to launch a 24-hour Spanish-language cable network.
Fusion MX will be run by Televisa and feature local programming that reaches almost 14 million Mexican households and aims at a younger audience, according to a statement Thursday. It will also produce local versions of shows for Fusion’s TV channel in the U.S.
Regulator Is Investigating Facebook, Google
8 December 2017
The Federal Government has instructed the ACCC to launch an inquiry into the effect search engines and social media platforms have on competition in media and advertising.
"The ACCC goes into this inquiry with an open mind to and will study how digital platforms such as Facebook and Google operate to fully understand their influence in Australia," ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.
HuffPost Goes on its Own in India
2 December 2017
Lydia Polgreen, editor-in-chief of HuffPost, was in India last month on a week-long visit to lead HuffPost India on its independent journey following a split with its partner, the Times Group, after close to three years. In December 2014, the American news and opinion website had unveiled its India edition in association with Times Internet Ltd, the digital arm of the Times Group.
The website will now operate under Oath Inc., a subsidiary of Verizon Communications Inc., formed after the amalgamation of two iconic brands Yahoo and AOL. Oath reaches one billion people around the world with more than 50 online products including HuffPost, TechCrunch and Tumblr.
IDN Media Secures Funding
1 December 2017
IDN MEDIA, an Indonesian digital media company for millennials and Gen Z, has secured Series B funding from a group of investment firms. The undisclosed amount was raised in a round led by East Ventures, along with Central Exchange, a venture capital firm based in Hong Kong.
The funding will allow IDN Media to speed up the growth of its audience and improve all its products and technology to achieve its goal of becoming the voice of millennials and Gen Z.
Koch Brothers Buy Stake in Time
29 November 2017
The speculation is over: Time Inc. has officially found a buyer. Meredith, the publisher of magazines including Better Homes and Gardens and Family Circle, shelled out $2.8 billion for Time in a deal announced Sunday night.
But with the end of that speculation comes some new questions about the potential involvement of Charles and David Koch, who contributed $650 million into the merged company.
Tencent: First Chinese Tech Firm Valued Over US$500 Billion
25 November 2017
By Jon Russell
Tencent has become the first Chinese company to be valued at more than US$500bn. Shares of the 19-year-old company, which is listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, rallied to reach HK$418.80 to give it a market cap of HK$3.99 trillion which takes past the US$500bn mark. Close rival Alibaba is Asia’s second-highest-valued firm at US$474bn.
Reddit May Go Public by 2020
13 November 2017
Reddit may go public by 2020, said CEO and co-founder Steve Huffman during a keynote conversation at the Internet Association’s Virtuous Circle Summit on Monday, Variety reported. “The time frame is pretty far out,” he admitted. However, he also argued that going public was inevitable for Reddit to both reward employees and investors, calling it “the only responsible choice” for the company.
Huffman co-founded Reddit in 2005, and sold it to Conde Nast in 2006.
Telecom Italia Selling Persidera
4 October 2017
Telecom Italia (TLIT.MI) today launched the sale of its majority stake in broadcasting services group Persidera, company valued at up to €400m, according to sources Reuters spoke to.
Barclays, Credit Suisse and Lazard had been reportedly selected to advise on the sale, which Bloomberg first reported.
French-owned media group Vivendi (VIV.PA), which is Telecom Italia’s biggest shareholder, received approval from the EU antitrust authorities last May to gain control of Telecom Italia after promising to sell Persidera.
Time Wants to Sell Assets
22 September 2017
The media group Time Inc (TIME.N) announced today that it planned to sell several assets, including Time Inc UK. The company said that during the ongoing quarter it suffered a fall in revenues that is bigger than expected. Assets that could be sold include Time Customer Service and a majority stake in the Essence magazine. They together account for some 17% of the company’s total revenues in the fiscal year ending 30 June 2017.
Activists Fight Sky Deal
1 October 2017
Activist organization Avaaz wants to stop Rupert Murdoch from buying Sky (SKYB.L). Is is planning to lodge a legal challenge with Ofcom, the British regulator, which has said that the Sky group would still be a “fit and proper” owner of a broadcasting license if Mr Murdoch goes ahead with the purchase. Ofcom ran a “fit and proper” test to assess whether the deal, estimated by Reuters at $15bn, would bring Sky under the full control of Murdoch’s Fox (FOXA.O).
Rolling Stone on Sale
21 September 2017
The company Wenner Media said it intends to sell its majority interest in the Rolling Stone magazine. The magazine is in a process of transition to digital as its revenues form the print media business are falling massively. Wenner Media has recently sold the magazines Us Weekly and Men’s Journal. It did so for similar reasons.
Ruling Party Oligarchs Take Over 18 Regional Dailies
5 August 2017
Russmedia CEE, eastern Hungary’s most important publishing company, has been sold to a business interest closely connected to the ruling Fidesz party. With the sale, each of Hungary’s 18 daily county newspapers is now owned by Fidesz-connected oligarchs, either directly or indirectly.
Chicago Sun-Times Sold to Investors Group
13 July 2017
A group of investors led by a former Chicago official has bought the Sun-Times newspaper, which was also sought by the owners of the rival Chicago Tribune, the company Tronc Inc (TRNC.O), which also owns the Los Angeles Times and Baltimore Sun. The buyers are led by former Chicago Alderman Edwin Eisendrath. The vehicle used by the investors to buy Sun-Times newspaper is called ST Acquisition Holdings LLC.
CME Exits Croatia and Slovenia
5 July 2017
Broadcast group Central European Media Enterprises (CME) (CETV.O) (CETV.PR) has no plans to leave other markets after it sold its television stations in Slovenia and Croatia. CME is majority owned by American media group Time Warner (TWX.N). CME announced on Monday that it agreed to sell its Croatian and Slovenian operations to United Group's Slovenia Broadband for €230m (US$ 262m) to cover CME’s US$ 1bn debt. Croatia and Slovenia generated some 18% of CME’s net revenue of US$ 638m in 2016.
Facebook to Set up Office
19 June 2017
The request of the social media operator Facebook to set up a domestic unit in Indonesia has been approved in principle, according to a local government source cited by Reuters. The Indonesian government has repeatedly pushed international technology companies to establish local branches. They argue that international tech giants set up small business entities that only offer a limited set of services in a move to avoid taxation.
Leading Investigative News Media Sold to ESN
16 June 2017
ESN group owned by businessman Grigory Berezkin announced that it has acquired a 65% stake in RBC, a media holding. The stake was purchased from Onexim Group, company controlled by Mikhail Prokhorov, a magnate in the metallurgy industry. During the past seven years under Mr Prohhorov, RBC came to be known as a tough investigative media outlet. Often, its stories targeted businessmen close to the Russian president Vladimir Putin. Most of the mainstream media in Russia are in a way or another controlled by the state.
The sale of RBC was the result of lobbying from a number of businessmen close to Mr Putin who were increasingly irritated by RBC’s stories.
Scrap Limits on Media Ownership?
6 May 2017
Australia’s Federal Communications Minister Mitch Fifield announced that they planned to remove limits on media asset ownership. Rules prohibiting a media owner from reaching more than 75% of the audience of free-to-air broadcasting in any area or owning print, radio and free-air assets in the same city are to be abandoned. The new proposals that have to be approved by parliament.
Vodafone and Idea Agree on Merger
20 March 2017
Britain's Vodafone Group (VOD.L) and Idea Cellular (IDEA.NS) agreed today to merge their Indian operations in a deal estimated at US$ 23bn. The merger is creating the country's biggest telecom company with nearly 400 million customers. The newly created company overtakes market leader Bharti Airtel (BRTI.NS). According to the deal, Vodafone will own 45.1% of the newly created entity.
Najafi and Pamplona Capital Eye Time
9 March 2017
A group of businessmen that includes Jahm Najafi, head of the American investment firm Najafi Companies, and private-equity company Pamplona Capital Management are bidding for the publisher Time Inc (TIME.N), according to the Wall Street Journal. Earlier on, former music executive Edgar Bronfman Jr bid for Time, Reuters reported.
Time is the publisher of People and Sports Illustrated magazines. The company was spun off from Time Warner Inc in 2014.
NBC Buys Snapchat Shares
3 March 2017
NBCUniversal, company controlled by Comcast Corp’s (CMCSA.O) has pumped US$ 500m in Snapchat’s owner Snap Inc (SNAP.N). In some previous moves, part of its strategy to push more into digital media, NBCUniversal invested US$ 400m in the online news server Buzzfeed and US$ 200m in the news operation Vox Media. The investment in Snap was part of the company’s US$ 3.4bn IPO.
Fox Takes Over Sky
3 March 2017
The company Twenty-First Century Fox (FOXA.O) owned by Rupert Murdoch has asked EU antitrust regulators to approve its US$ 14.4bn takeover of Europe’s pay-TV company Sky (SKYB.L). An answer from the EU is expected by 7 April 2017.
Through this acquisition, of the remainder of 61% in Sky, Fox could better compete with rivals such as Netflix (NFLX.O), Reuters reported.
Telmex Likely to Separate Part of Business
1 March 2017
Citing sources close to the regulatory authorities in Mexico, Reuters reported that the country’s telecom watchdog is planning to force businessman Carlos Slim to separate part of its land-line operator Telmex from the group that he owns. According to competitors on the telecom market, the rules that force the mobile operator America Movil to rent out infrastructure to rivals do not work. By separating parts of Telmex, the network is expected to be opened to competitors. Telmex is fully owned by America Movil.
Bharti Airtel Eyes Telenor
22 February 2017
The biggest telco in India by revenues, Bharti Airtel is to buy the local unit of Norway’s Telenor. The value of the deal was not disclosed. The deal has apparently been prompted by growing competition from Jio, a wireless carrier owned by Reliance Industries. Jio entered the Indian telecom sector last year.
Vodafone Group from the U.K. last month reported that it was in talks to merge its Indian subsidiary with Idea Cellular.
Verizon and Yahoo Agree on Merger
21 February 2017
The telecom group Verizon Communications Inc (VZ.N) said today that it would buy the core business of Yahoo Inc's (YHOO.O) in a deal worth US$ 4.48bn. This is US$ 350m less than it initially offered. The drop followed two massive cyber attacks at Yahoo. The deal was first announced in July 2016. Thanks to the deal, Verizon will get one billion new users from Yahoo’s customer base.
NBC Eyes Euronews
15 February 2017
America’s NBCUniversal, owned by Comcast Corp (CMCSA.O), is close to secure a deal to buy a 25% stake in European broadcaster Euronews, according to a source linked with the Euronews management, Reuters reported.
Thanks to this deal, NBC would have access to 277 million households across Europe, Africa and the Middle East. This would also mark NBC’s entry on the European market. Euronews used to be co-owned by a bevy of state-owned TV stations from Europe. Egypt’s businessman Naguib Sawiris then bought 53% in the broadcaster.
Vodafone and Idea Cellular in Merger Talks
31 January 2017
Reuters reported that Vodafone (VOD.L) India is in talks to merge operations with Idea Cellular (IDEA.NS). That, according to Reuters, would create a market leader in India's crowded telecoms industry. It would lead to the extinction of smaller players or further mergers.
Representatives of Vodafone in Britain confirmed their interest in Idea Cellular. Together, Vodafone and Idea would create a telco with 395 million subscribers. The largest telco in India by number of subscribers now is Bharti Airtel (BRTI.NS).
Bell Media Cuts Jobs
31 January 2017
Bell Media, part of Canada’s telecom company BCE Inc (BCE.TO), announced today that it was going to slash its staff in the radio and television operations. The company would not elaborate. The move was prompted by “increasing international competition” among other things. Bell Media owns 30 local TV stations and radio stations.
Big Brother Creator Eyes Telegraaf Daily
24 January 2017
Dutch businessman John de Mol has plans to buy Telegraaf Media Group (TMG) (TLGNc.AS), which publishes the popular daily Telegraaf in the Netherlands. According to the bid terms, the Dutch newspaper publisher is worth some €273m (US$ 293m).
Mr de Mol wants to buy the newspaper via his investment company Talpa. Last December, Belgium’s Mediahuis and its partner VP Exploitatie submitted a bid for the publisher. TMG also owns Sky Radio and several magazines. VP Exploitatie is TMG's largest owner with a 40% stake. Mr de Mol is the creator of the TV reality-show Big Brother.
Sawiris Wants to Buy Oi Mobile
9 January 2017
Egyptian businessman Naguib Sawiris is planning to go to Brazil during then month of January 2017 in a move to persuade the government that his intention to take over the bankrupt mobile operator Oi SA (OIBR4.SA) in Brazil is the best option for the telco, the newspaper Folha de S.Paulo reported. Mr Sawiris plans to offer US$1.25bn in share offering. Mr Sawiris’ plan is to merge Oi with TIM Participacoes (TIMP3.SA), Brazil’s second-largest mobile phone operator.
L’Espresso and La Stampa to Merge
12 January 2017
Publisher Gruppo Editoriale L'Espresso (ESPI.MI) in Italy wants to merge with the publishing house of the Turin-based daily newspaper La Stampa. Italian Antitrust Authority is investigating the merger to ensure competition rules are being complied with.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCHA.MI) announced the sale of La Stampa and another daily, Il Secolo XIX, to L'Espresso in March last year.
For older news, see Mediapowermonitor Industry News Archives