Industry News Archives
Gartner Takes Over CEB
5 January 2017
IT research company Gartner Inc (IT.N) announced today that it would buy CEB Inc (CEB.N), a provider of business research and analysis, in a deal worth US$2.6bn. The move is aimed at expanding Gartner’s business services. CEB's shares were up more than 21% at US$ 74.90 in afternoon trading. Gartner’s shares were down 9.2% at US$ 92.47.
Televisa Allowed to Increase Stake in Univision
4 January 2017
Mexico’s broadcast group Televisa was given green light today by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), America’s communications watchdog, to own up to 49% of the shares in Univision, the Spanish-language TV network in the United States.
The decision follows an approval by the FCC to raise the total number of shares in Univision that can be in the hands of foreign investors to 49% from 25% before.
Megafon Buys Controlling Stake in Mail.ru
23 December 2016
Mobile operator Megafon (MFON.MM) of Russia is to pay US$740m for a majority stake in internet group Mail.ru (MAILRq.L). Megafon is to take over the stake from businessman Alisher Usmanov, who is an investor in both companies.
Through the acquisition, Megafon gives mobile phone users access to more content through Mail.ru platforms. Megafon is the second largest mobile company in Russia by revenue.
Mail.ru owns the three biggest Russian-language social networks. It also controls an online games business. Naspers (NPNJn.J) from South Africa and Chinese Tencent Holdings Ltd (0700.HK) hold shares in Mail.ru.
Facebook Fined for Lying to European Commission
20 December 2016
The European Commission slammed Facebook (FB.O) for providing “misleading information” in the process of takeover of the online messaging service WhatsApp, Reuters reported. The commission wants Facebook to pay a fine worth 1% of its turnover. The accusation is not going to change the commission’s approval of the deal, which was worth US$22bn. It took place in 2014.
The competition commissioner in the EU, Margrethe Vestager, has delivered several big blows to the technology giants from America so far. The decision on Facebook follows a demand to Apple (AAPL.O) pay back US$14bn in taxes to Ireland and two market abuse investigations into Google’s (GOOGL.O) operations.
Nielsen Holdings Buys Tribune’s Media Data Shop
20 December 2016
Nielsen Holdings (NLSN.N) aims to buy Gracenote, the media data unit run by Tribune Media (TRCO.N) in a deal expected to be valued at US$560m. Gracenote is a provider of TV data that help viewers understand what programs they watching on their digital TV. Gracenot was established some two decades ago.
Fox Buys Sky
15 December 2016
Twenty-First Century Fox (FOXA.O) agreed to buy for US$ 14.6bn the European pay-TV firm Sky (SKYB.L). The move leads to the creation of a media empire that operates across two continents and that will be able to compete with platforms such as Netflix (NFLX.O). Following the deal, Fox become the full owner of Sky. The Sky group is a business with 22 million customers in the U.k>, Ireland, Italy, Germany and Austria.
The Murdochs, who control Fox, tried to buy Sky five years ago, but a scandal over the illegal phone hacking by some of Murdochs’ journalists prevented the deal.
Oi Wants to Sell Timor Telecom
13 December 2016
Brazilian phone carrier Oi wants to sell its stake in Timor Telecom, a phone carrier serving people in East Timor, Asia. Oi asked for permission to sell from the court overseeing its bankruptcy protection proceedings. Investel Communications wants to pay around US$ 36m for Oi's shares in Timor Telecom.
American Private Investor Eyes GfK in Germany
7 December 2016
U.S. private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR.N) is offering to buy a stake in Germany's GfK (GFKG.DE). According to the agreement, cited by Reuters, GfK’s majority shareholder, GfK Verein, will hold on to its over 56% stake. KKR has a track record of successfully turning around media and market research businesses.
The equity firm is to make the acquisition via the KKR-controlled Acceleratio Capital. GfK’s flagship products are its consumer confidence indices and TV audience ratings. The company has been confronted with growing digital competition in recent years.
Austrians Buy Metronet in Croatia
8 December 2016
Telekom Austria Group (TELA.VI) announced today that it had agreed to buy a controlling stake in Metronet Telekomunikacije, a communications and computing group from Croatia. The Croats last year generated revenues of roughly €28m (US$ 30.2m). Telekom Austria is majority-owned by the Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim.
Viacom Buys Argentinian Broadcaster
15 November 2016
Viacom Inc (VIAB.O), the group that runs the TV channels Comedy Central, Nickelodeon and MTV, bought Argentina’s broadcaster Television Federal (Telefe) from telecom carrier Telefonica (TEF.MC). The deal was worth US$ 345m. This is another part of Viacom’s plans to boost its presence on the Latin American market. Part of the deal was the purchase of Telefe Internacional, a pay-TV channel accessible across the Americas.
Figyelo Bought by Maria Schmidt
5 December 2016
Business weekly Figyelo in Hungary was purchased by Maria Schmidt, CEO with Terror House. Mediacity, the publisher of Figyelo, posted a loss of HUF 183m (US$ 63,000) and revenues of HUF 634.5m (US$ 2.2m) in 2015 and sells 7,000-8,000 copies. Several potential buyers, close to the governmental circle, were interested in buying the business weekly, according to market insiders.
Deutsche Telekom Might Sell Its BT Stake
4 November 2016
Citing two sources close to the companies, Reuters reported that Deutsche Telekom (DTEGn.DE) is considering selling its 12% stake in BT Group (BT.L). The move is apparently prompted by the Brexit. The German telco is thus preparing to exit the British telecoms market. The stake owned by the German group is has a market value of £4.4bn (US$5.47bn).
Dolan Family Bought Analytics Media Group
10 November 2016
Reuters reported that the Dolan family, who sold Cablevision last year, has bought Analytics Media Group, a data analytics company. The family wants to build a business that would specialize in helping media companies better measure their audiences. The family wants to invest in this business through the recently established Dolan Family Ventures.
Warburg Pincus Buys Stake in United Internet
8 November 2016
United Internet of Germany sold a 33% stake in its web-hosting company to private equity firm Warburg Pincus. It charged netting €450m (US$497m) for it. United Internet is valued at €2.55bn (including 1.2bn in debt). The company provides services such home pages and marketing tools to small and mid-size companies and freelancers.
Russian VTB to Invest in Turkcell
7 November 2016
Russian bank VTB (VTBR.MM) announced an agreement with Alfa Group to jointly invest in the largest mobile operator in Turkey, Turkcell (TCELL.IS). Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman and Turkcell's founder Mehmet Emin Karamehmet have been enmeshed in a dispute over control of the Turkcell. Alfa Group is part of Mr Fridman’s assets. Mr Fridman indirectly controls 13.2% of Turkcell while Mr Karamehmet indirectly holds 13.8%. Swedish phone carrier Telia Company (TELIA.ST) owns 37%.
Viacom Eyes Television Federal in Argentina
3 November 2016
Viacom Inc (VIAB.O), the company that owns the TV channels Comedy Central, Nickelodeon and MTV, is negotiation the purchase of Argentina’s broadcaster Television Federal from its owner, the telco Telefonica SA (TEF.MC). Bloomberg reported that this deal will be close at up to US$ 385m. The deal, if concluded, will have to be approved by the regulatory authorities in Argentina.
Regulator to Scrutinize AT&T-Time Warner Deal
24 October 2016
The White House today said federal regulators will have to decide whether to formally review the plans of the telco AT&T to buy the media conglomerate Time Warner. According to the White House’s representatives the president Barack Obama hopes that the regulators will carefully analyze the impact of this deal on consumers given the size of the transaction.
AT&T Buys Time Warner
23 October 2016
The telecom group AT&T announced yesterday that it agreed to buy Time Warner Inc (TWX.N) for a total of US$ 85.4bn. This is the biggest deal involving a telecom group acquiring a content producer. The move is said to give AT&T access to a wealth of television production to stream over its network.
The deal is yet to be approved by American regulator. AT&T gains through the deal control of the TV channels HBO and CNN, the film studios Warner Bros and other media outlets. If the regulators approve, the deal is to be concluded by the end of 2017.
AT&T’s main business is its wireless telephony unit and broadband service business. Sales from these activities, however, slow down. That has apparently prompted AT&T to look for other assets. It last year bought the satellite TV provider DirecTV for US$ 48.5bn. In mid-2016, AT&T had 142 million wireless subscribers in America. Time Warner’s HBO alone has more than 130 million subscribers.
Postmedia in Canada Reports More Losses
20 October 2016
One of Canada’s largest publishers, Postmedia Network Canada Corp (PNCa.TO) suffered a 13% fall in revenues during the fourth-quarter. The publisher is thus planning to cut more jobs.
Postmedia reported a net loss of C$ 99.4m (US$ 75.3m) in the quarter ending August 2016, up from a loss of C$ 54.1m a year earlier. Its revenues declined to C$ 198.7m in the quarter from C$230.2m in the same quarter a year before.
Postmedia owns the National Post, Montreal Gazette, Calgary Herald, Ottawa Citizen and Sun tabloids in Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton, Ottawa and Winnipeg.
UPC Buys Rival Multimedia Polska in Poland
19 October 2016
The telecom group Liberty Global through its Polish subsidiary UPC Poland has agreed to purchase the cable operation of Multimedia Polska [MULPO.UL] in a deal worth PLN 3bn (US$ 763.5m), according to Reuters.
UPC Poland is the largest cable operator on the Polish market. Multimedia Polska comes third. Liberty Global was advised in this deal by Credit Suisse International.
Verizon Seeks Discount in Yahoo Deal
6 October 2016
Verizon Communications (VZ.N) is asking for a US$ 1bn discount off the US$ 4.8bn that it agreed to buy Yahoo (YHOO.O), according to sources consulted by the New York Post. Yahoo is reportedly rejecting attempts to bring the price down, the newspaper reported. Last July, Verizon agreed to buy Yahoo Inc’s core internet properties in a deal valued at US$ 4.83bn.
Sale of Twitter to Be Pushed This Month
5 October 2016
The social network Twitter Inc is planning to conclude a deal on its sales by 27 October 2016 when it is primed to report Q3 earnings, Reuters reported. The news agency said that this is an ambitious timeline because Twitter only started to mull a sale last month.
Acquisition offers are due in the next two weeks. Potential bidders include Salesforce, Google’s Alphabet and Walt Disney Co. Twitter has some 313 million monthly users that are active on its platform.
National Amusements and CBS Mull a Merger
30 September 2016
Viacom Inc (VIAB.O) is looking into options to merge National Amusements Inc with CBS Corp (CBS.N). National Amusements is owned by media baron Sumner Redstone and his daughter Shari Redstone. The company yesterday recommended the boards of Viacom and CBS to explore a merger.
National Amusements is the majority shareholder of CBS and Viacom. It owns 80% of the voting shares of both media companies. Viacom has hired Debevoise & Plimpton LLP to act as legal advisor in this potential deal.
Tanzania Regains Full Ownership of Local Telco
23 September 2016
The government of Tanzania has taken full ownership of the country's oldest telco, Tanzania Telecommunications Corp (TTCL), following the purchase of a 35% stake from Indian Bharti Airtel (BRTI.NS). Tanzania, Africa’s second-largest economy, has a total of seven mobile companies. The country last year had nearly 40 million mobile phone subscribers.
TTCL provides mobile voice, data and fixed-line services. It was established in 1993. Its competitors include Vodacom Tanzania, part of South Africa's Vodacom Group (VODJ.J) , Tigo Tanzania, which belongs to Sweden's Millicom International Cellular (MICsdb.ST) and Halotel, that is majority-owned by Viettel, a Vietnam-based operator. Industry experts say that Tanzania paid some US$ 7m for the stake from Bharti Airtel.
Reliance Communications Merges With Aircel in India
14 September 2016
Reliance Communications (RLCM.NS) in India is to combine its wireless business with Aircel, a smaller player. This will lead to the creation of India's third-biggest mobile phone network operator by number of subscribers.
Reliance Communications is controlled by billionaire Anil Ambani. He and Aircel’s parent company Maxis Communications Bhd will each own 50% of the new company after the merger. The merged business is to have 190 million customers. India today has over 1 billion mobile phone subscriptions.
Telenor Sells Stake in Vimpelcom
12 September 2016
Telenor in October 2015 said that it wanted to sell its entire 33% stake in Vimpelcom. Morgan Stanley and J.P. Morgan were appointed to handle the sale of Telenor’s stake in Vimpelcom.
Amsterdam-based Vimpelcom last February was hit by a fine of US$ 795m in an American and Dutch probe into a bribery scheme in Uzbekistan.
Telco Oi in Brazil Filing for Bankruptcy
2 September 2016
Brazilian owned telecom group Oi SA (OIBR4.SA) is primed to file its bankruptcy reorganization plan with a Rio de Janeiro court on Monday, according to sources cited by Reuters. The decision follows a board meeting this week.
Oi is Brazil's largest fixed-line phone carrier and the fourth biggest mobile operator by number of subscribers. It filed on 20 June 2016 for bankruptcy protection, the country’s biggest-ever bankruptcy involving BRL 65.4bn (US$ 19.7bn) of bonds, bank debt and operating liabilities.
Merger of 3 Italia With VimpelCom Approved
1 September 2016
EU on Thursday approved plans by CK Hutchison Holdings (0001.HK) to merge its Italian mobile unit with that of VimpelCom (VIP.O). Last May, the EU vetoed Hutchison's bid to combine its British subsidiary Three with O2 UK of Telefonica (TEF.MC) because of competition concerns.
Univision Takes Over Bankrupt Gawker
17 August 2016
Univision Holdings won a bankruptcy auction on Tuesday to take over American internet publisher Gawker Media in a deal worth US$135m. They beat the media company Ziff Davis, which had offered US$ 90m.
Gawker founder Nick Denton lauded Univision Holdings for being a company “devoted to vibrant journalism.” Gawker sought bankruptcy last June following a fine of US$ 140m in a court judgment in an invasion of privacy lawsuit from former professional wrestler Hulk Hogan. He complained about the publication of excerpts from a sex tape.
Gawker has become known for its gossipy content. It was one of the few early digital publishers to turn a profit on its own.
Univision runs a Spanish-language broadcast network that sometimes has higher audiences than major U.S. broadcasters such as NBC. Earlier this year, Univision bought a minority stake in the satirical publication Onion.
Telefonica Sells Stake in China Unicom
7 July 2016
Spain’s telecoms group Telefonica SA (TEF.MC) has pocketed some US$ 364m from the sale of its shares in China Unicom (Hong Kong) Ltd (0762.HK), the second largest Chinese telecom, China Unicom, according to sources close to the deal cited by Reuters.
Before this sale, Telefonica owned about 600 million shares in China Unicom, a 2.5% stake. Telefonica is considering selling also its British subsidiary O2.
Brazil’s Leading Telco Oi Goes Bust
23 June 2016
The telecom operator Oi filed for bankruptcy, Brazil’s biggest bankruptcy filing ever. The telco is now seeking creditor protection from global telecoms suppliers and export banks on over BRL 500m (US$ 150m) to be paid to suppliers that include Nokia Corp, Ericsson, IBM Corp and Alcatel-Lucent.
Oi, the biggest Brazilian fixed-line carrier, owes another US$ 1bn to foreign development banks in countries such as China, Finland, Canada and Germany.
Regulators Approved the Altice-Cablevision Deal
15 June 2016
Regulators in the U.S. approved yodel the acquisition by the European telecom group Altice (ATCA.AS) of Cablevision Systems Corp (CVC.N) in a US$ 17.7bn deal. Following the transactions, a fourth-largest U.S. cable provider will emerge. Cablevision has 3.1 million subscribers who live mostly in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.
The deal included other Cablevision assets such as the News 12 networks the newspaper Newsday and the free daily amNewYork.
EU Regulators Look Into the Vodafone-Liberty Deal in Netherlands
15 June 2016
Antitrust watchdogs in the European union are to make a decision whether to approve the merger of Vodafone mobile operator from Britain with the Dutch subsidiary of the U.S. cable company Liberty Global.
The newly emerging company is expected to become the second largest telecom group in the Netherlands after KPN.
PLDT and Globe Telecom Buy San Miguel Corp
14 June 2016
The purchase jointly by Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co (PLDT) and Globe Telecom Inc of San Miguel Corp telecoms assets, a US$ 1.5bn deal, is not in breach of the country’s competition legislation. PLDT and Globe Telecom want to invest heavily in to increase the internet connection speed.
Charter Communications-Time Warner Cable Deal Approved
18 May 2016
Charter Communications Inc (CHTR.O) announced today that it has completed its acquisition of Time Warner Cable Inc (TWC.N) and Bright House Networks LLC. That led to the emergence of the second-largest U.S. broadband provider and third-largest pay-TV provider. The new group is to serve more than 25 million customers in 41 states. Earlier in May 2016, the U.S. media and telecom regulator, the Federal Communications Commission had approved Charter's acquisition. The TWC deal was valued at US$ 56.7bn, excluding debt, and the acquisition of Bright House at US$ 10.4bn.
Radio Operator iHeart Media Hires Advisor to Restructure Debt
14 May 2016
iHeartMedia (IHRT.PK), which has a radio business and a division specializing in selling political advertising, hired Millstein & Co, an additional restructuring advisory firm, to help them evaluate options for its debt, Reuters reported.
iHeartMedia, the largest owner of U.S. radio stations, has to restructure roughly US$ 21bn in debt. The company previously also hired investment bank Moelis & Co as a financial adviser. iHeartMedia is controlled by private equity firms Bain Capital Partners LLC and Thomas H. Lee Partners LP.
Vimpelcom Still Wants to Merge With Hutchinson in Italy
12 May 2016
Russia’s telecommunications firm Vimpelcom (VIP.O) announced today that it still wanted to merge in the end of 2016 its business in Italy with that of CK Hutchison Holdings (0001.HK). European Union antitrust regulators yesterday turned down Hutchison's plan to buy O2 UK telco from Spain's Telefonica (TEF.MC). That decision was said by market insiders to influence approval of the Vimpelcom-Hutchison deal in Italy.
The proposed Italian transaction is a deal estimated at €21.8bn (US$ 25bn). It would create the largest mobile operator by number of customers in Italy through the merger of Hutchison's 3 Italia and Vimpelcom's WIND networks.
Tribune Rejected Gannett’s Takeover Offer
5 May 2016
Tribune Publishing Co (TPUB.N) announce that its board unanimously rejected Gannett Co Inc’s (GCI.N) unsolicited takeover offer. It wants instead to put together a strategy to revive its print business and to grow its digital content business. Today, Tribune shares declined by more than 4% and Gannett’s stock dropped some 13%.
Last month, Gannett, which owns USA Today, made a takeover bid for Tribune offering US$12.25 per share. Tribune owns the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune newspapers.
Gannett Wants to Buy Tribune Publishing
26 April 2016
Tribune Publishing Co (TPUB.N) received an unsolicited and, as Reuters reported, “possibly unwelcome” US$815m takeover bid from Gannett Co Inc (GCI.N). The move is aimed at bolstering Gannett’s market power. Gannett is publisher of USA Today. The offer was made two weeks ago, but as Tribune ignored it, Gannett’s management was irked and publicized its offer. Tribune owns the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune newspapers.
Apple’s Revenue Declines for the First Time in 13 Years
26 April 2016
Apple’s quarterly profits dropped by nearly 23% and revenue declined for the first time in 13 years. Apple’s (AAPL) CEO Tim Cook said that the fall was triggered by weakness in China and “strong macroeconomic” headwinds. Investors sent the company’s shares down as much as 8% in after hours trade. That meant a decline of US$40bn of Apple’s market cap.
China Blocks Disney’s Entry on the Chinese Market
26 April 2016
MarketWatch reported that China blocked the entry of Disney on the Chinese market by blocking a planned partnership between local e-commerce giant Alibaba and Disney. This is part of the efforts by Chinese regulators to tighten control over online content. Alibaba Group Holding (BABA) said DisneyLife, an online content service it runs based on a licensing agreement with Walt Disney (DIS) is down for a service upgrade. Representatives of the two companies declined to further elaborate.
Charter Communications Buys Time Warner and Bright House
25 April 2016
The U.S. Justice Department on Monday gave antitrust approval to Charter Communications Inc's (CHTR.O) purchase of Time Warner Cable Inc (TWC.N) and Bright House networks. The deal leads to the creation of the second-largest U.S. broadband provider and third-largest video provider. The deal is yet to be approved by the Federal Communications Commission, America’s broadcast and telecom regulator. Charter has valued the deal at US$56.7bn for Time Warner Cable, excluding debt, and US$10.4bn for Bright House Networks. Charter is controlled by Liberty Media Corp (LMCA.O).
Daily Mail Eyes Yahoo
11 April 2016
Daily Mail os Britain is reportedly negotiating with several partners to submit a joint bid for Yahoo’s (YHOO.O) internet assets. The move is part of Daily Mail’s strategy to boost ad income on its global popular websites. The newspaper's parent company, the Daily Mail & General Trust (DMGOa.L) has been grappling with dwindling revenues from its print operations in recent years.
A number of private equity firms are also planning to submit offers for Yahoo. Another publishing group, Time (TIME.N) of the U.S. is also looking for a partner to build a consortium that would submit a bid for Yahoo.
Some of Daily Mail’s most popular websites include its celebrity-focused websites DailyMail.com and MailOnline.
Vivendi Confirms Purchase of Italy’s Mediaset Premium
8 April 2016
French-owned giant Vivendi (VIV.PA) today confirmed that it decided to buy the pay-TV operation of the broadcast group Mediaset (MS.MI) of Italy. The move is part of Vivendi’s plan to build a southern European content and video-on-demand group that would be able to compete with the Sky group (SKYB.L) and the video-streaming company Netflix (NFLX.O).
According to the agreement, Vivendi is to take over Mediaset’s 89% stake in Mediaset Premium and the remaining 11% of shares that Mediaset has in Spain’s telco Telefonica (TEF.MC).
Canada’s Leading Publisher, Postmedia Wants to Sell Assets
7 April 2016
The largest newspaper publisher in Canada by turnover, Postmedia Network Canada Corp (PNCa.TO), unveiled today plans that it would sell some of its assets and debt and restructure its equity following growing losses. The publisher lost C$225.1m (US$170.96m) in the quarter ending in February.
The Canadian newspaper industry is roiled by an oil shock that has affected the country’s economy, prompting thus advertisers to cut down on spending. The company’s representatives said that the decline in car advertising spending in particular has badly hurt publishers. Many of these advertisers have moved large parts of their budgets online. Postmedia's debt is close to C$650m.
Merger Talks Between Orange and Bouygues Fell Through
1 April 2016
The deal was to consists of a €10bn (US$11.4bn) cash-and-share deal involving Bouygues Telecom. The failed negotiations are likely to affect the French government, which has a stake of roughly 23% in Orange.
Yahoo Announced Deadline for Preliminary Bids
29 March 2016
Internet behemoth Yahoo (YHOO.O) announced that they set 11 April 2016 as deadline for submission of preliminary bids for its web business and Asian assets, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Yahoo is expecting from interested bidders information about financing and approvals that would have to be met on their end. According to The Wall Street Journal, a deal could be reached by July 2016 at the latest.
Alfa Telecom Selling Stake in Turkcell
25 March 2016
Russia's Alfa Telecom announced today that it wanted to sell a stake of more than 13% in the Turkish telco Turkcell (TCELL.IS) (TKC.N) to Turkey’s Cukurova and Ziraat Bank. Alfa Telecom expects nearly US$ 2.7bn from this deal.
The control of Turkcell, the leading mobile operator in Turkey by number of subscribers, has been at the centre of a more than 10-year old dispute. Alfa Telecom is owned by a conglomerate under the control of the Russian entrepreneur Mikhail Fridman. He has been locked in a legal fight with equity partner Cukurova, which is run by Turkcell's founder Mehmet Emin Karamehmet.
Tencent Doesn’t Want to Sell WeChat
17 March 2016
Chinese Tencent Holdings (0700.HK) does not plan to spin-off its popular mobile messaging app WeChat, according to Tencent’s management. WeChat boasted 697 million monthly active users at the end of 2015.
WeChat is China’s largest social network. Its sales revenues increased by 45% in the last quarter of 2015. This was the fastest growth rate since 2012. The growth was spawned mainly by gaming and online advertising.
Facebook Buys Face-Swapping App MSQRD
9 March 2016
Facebook announced that it is acquiring Masquerade Technologies, creator of the face-swapping app MSQRD. This is part of Facebook’s efforts to build its video services, Reuters reported. None of the parties would disclose financial details. Masquerade is backed by Yuri Gurski and Gagarin Capital. Its founders Eugene Nevgen, Sergey Gonchar and Eugene Zatepyakin are to join Facebook. The app will continue as a standalone product.
Vivendi Eyes Mediaset Premium of Italy
9 March 2016
Mediaset, the broadcast group owned by former Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi, is to conclude shortly a deal to sell its pay-TV unit to the French conglomerate Vivendi, according to sources consulted by Reuters. Vivendi has already a strong position on the Italian market. It is the largest shareholder in Telecom Italia with a 23.8% stake.
Mediaset’s CEO is Pier Silvio Berlusconi, Mr Berlusconi’s son. Vivendi wants to acquire the full 89% stake that Mediaset controls in the pay-TV Mediaset Premium. The remainder 11% is in the hands of Spain’s telecom giant Telefonica. The Spanish group paid for that stake some €1bn (US$1.1bn) last year. Analysts suggest that Vivendi and Mediaset also discuss the possibility to establish a joint-venture to better compete with groups such as Sky on the pay-TV pan-European market.
Corus Entertainment Close to Acquiring Shaw Media in Canada
9 March 2016
Minority shareholders in Corus Entertainment (CJRb.TO) voted today purchase Shaw Media from its sister company Shaw Communications (SJRb.TO) in a deal worth some C$2.65bn (US$1.99bn). The deal is yet to be approved by Canada’s broadcast regulator. If approved, it would give Corus control of more than one-third of the English-language television market in Canada. Corus' listed Class B shares rose after the approval to C$10.62 on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Shaw Media owns the Global Television Network, which airs nationally via 13 TV stations. The company also owns 19 thematic channels including Slice, Showcase and History.
Telecom Italia Sold Shares in Telecom Argentina
8 March 2016
Telecom Italia (TLIT.MI) today it sold its stake in Telecom Argentina (TEC2.BA) to the investment group Fintech in a deal worth over US$960 million. The deal covers also the sale of 51% in Telecom Argentina's holding company Sofora Telecomunicaciones. Fintech is owned by Mexican financier David Martinez.
Carmaker Fiat Chrysler Exits Publishing Business
4 March 2016
Carmaker Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) wants to drop its involvement in the publishing business to focus more on car making, according to information from the FCA. The group decided to fold its media division into L'Espresso group, which as a result would become a dominant publishing house in Italy.
FCA is to merge the company Itedi, in which it owns 77%, with L'Espresso group. Itedi publishes the Turin-based La Stampa and Genoa-based Il Secolo XIX dailies. L’Espresso group publishes one of the largest dailies in Italy by readership, La Repubblica. Following this deal, FCA is to then exit the sector completely by awarding its 16% in the new company to its own shareholders, including Agnelli family.
Russian Investor Drops Plans to Finance Ailing Telco Oi of Brazil
25 February 2016
The value of shares in telco Oi in Brazil dived today following the decision Russian businessman Mikhail Fridman to give up plans to finance the takeover of TIM Participacoes, Oi’s rival. Mr Fridman wanted to inject some US$4bn into Oi through his London-based LetterOne Holdings. He said the decision was prompted by TIM Participacoes’ announcement that it would not participate in the deal. Oi thus has to redesign all its strategic plans to solve its indebtedness problems. Oi has debts maturing tis year totaling roughly BRL10bn (US$2.5bn).
Twitter With Half a Billion Dollars Loss
22 February 2016
MediaMergers reported: "Twitter has reported a $521.03 million (£358.65 million) net loss for trading in 2015 and, for the first time, no growth in its user numbers. The company reported year-on-year revenue growth of 58.0% to $2.22 billion for 2015, while its Q4 revenue was up 48.3 per cent to $710,473. Total advertising revenue reached $641 million in Q4, an increase of 48.3 per cent year over year."
Vodafone and Liberty Merge Operations in the Netherlands
16 February 2016
Telecom group Vodafone (VOD.L) and cable provider Liberty Global (LBTYA.O) have agreed to merge their Dutch operations to build a larger package of TV, broadband Internet and mobile in a move to better compete with former incumbent KPN (KPN.AS).
Vodafone announced that they would pay €1bn (US$1.1bn) to Liberty Global to equalize their stakes in the merged group, which will become the second-largest telco after KPN in the Netherlands. Liberty's Ziggo is by far the largest cable operation in the Netherlands. Vodafone is the second biggest mobile operator after KPN.
Deutsche Bank Comments Lead to Sharp Decline in ITV's Shares
8 February 2016
Shares in the broadcast group ITV fell dramatically on Monday following comments from Deutsche Bank saying that the broadcaster was lagging the rest of the sector, Barclays Stockbrokers reported. Deutsche Bank made these comments in a conference call for investors with four UK media buyers and two advertising forecasters.
The bank added that that the inclusion of ITV Player for the first time this year led to a distorted growth in the company's year-on-year numbers. "Player ad revs are around 3% of ITV linear TV ad income. So although ITV was seen up +5% to 6.5% on a headline basis, on a like-for-like basis this is 2-3%," it said.
Yahoo's Downturn Continues, Layoffs Announced
3 February 2016
Yahoo (YHOO.O ) said on Tuesday it would consider “strategic alternatives” for its core Internet business and sack some 15% of its workforce, Reuters reported. The company has not abandoned plans to revamp the business and spin it off. Yahoo’s internet business, consisting of websites, email and online search, is struggling.
Yahoo is to shut down offices in five cities, shift more resources to mobile search and sell some assets including real estate properties. The new sent Yahoo’s shares down 1.2% on Tuesday. In the past 12 months, they lost 36% of their value.
James Murdoch's Return Plans Push Sky's Shares Up
29 January 2016
Shares in the broadcast group Sky increased today following reports of strong revenue growth for the second half of 2015 and an announcement that James Murdoch will return as chairman, Barclays Stockbrokers reported. Mr Murdoch resigned four years ago in the wake of the phone-hacking hullabaloo.
Sky reported a growth of 12% of its operating profit during second half of 2015 to £747m. The group also increased the number of its customers by 337,000.
Sky Buys Into DataXu
25 January 2016
Boston-headquartered DataXu, a startup that provides analytics to use in running programmatic ads, has been bought by TV broadcast group Sky of UK, TechCrunch reported. Sky, part-owned by 21st Century Fox, has made an investment of US$10m in the company.
Sky wants to use DataXu’s advertising technology in its services. It also wants to develop new products in cooperation with DataXu.
DataXu is reportedly vaulted at over US$ 1bn. DataXu in the past was rumored to be interested in an IPO, but the company has not elaborated on that. DataXu was founded by MIT academics and technology entrepreneurs back in 2007.
Sky’s other investments include stakes in the video on-demand company TV4 Entertainment, online video aggregator Pluto TV and VR startup Jaunt.
News Corp Denies Interest in Buying Twitter
20 January 2016
News Corp denied today speculations that the company wants to buy Twitter. Twitter's shares closed up 4.1% at US$ 17.38 today. The price of shares increased following scuttlebutt that News Corp was eying Twitter. Re/code reported that News Corp was attracted by Twitter’s shrinking stock price.
Twitter has been struggling to become more engaging. Its head and cofounder Jack Dorsey said last December that Twitter was testing a feature to show ads to readers of tweets who are not registered on the network. Analysts said that Twitter would operate better in a larger corporation, either an internet company or a media player.
Some of the high-profile shareholders in Twitter include former Microsoft’s CEO Steve Ballmer, Twitter co-founder Evan Williams and Saudi prince Alwaleed bin Talal. Twitter in the past received takeover bids from Google and Facebook, Reuters reported.
Univision Buys Into The Onion
19 January 2016
Spanish-language media conglomerate Univision Communications Inc [UVN.UL] announced today that it purchased a stake in Onion Inc, which owns the satirical website The Onion, parody site ClickHole and the online video network Onion Studios. The move is aimed at reaching out to a younger audience.
Univision Communications Inc bought the stake in Onion Inc via Fusion, a media company co-founded by Univision and Walt Disney Co.
Time Warner Opposes Sale of HBO
12 January 2016
The CEO of Broadcast group Time Warner (TWX.N), Jeff Bewkes opposes a sale or a spinoff of premium cable channel HBO. However, he said that he would be open to a sale of the whole company, according to the New York Post. Mr Bewkes discussed all that with a group of investors on Monday. Time Warner’s representatives would not comment.
Back in 2014, Time Warner turned down a takeover offer of US$ 85 per share from Twenty-First Century Fox (FOXA.O).
Facebook's Co-Founder Sells The New Republic
11 January 2016
The New Republic magazine is up for grabs, according to its owner, Chris Hughes, a Facebook (FB.O) co-founder. Mr Hughes purchased a majority stake in the magazine in 2012. The New Republic is a left-leaning magazine known for its commentary on politics and the arts. In 2015, several journalists at The New Republic resigned. They included editor Franklin Foer and literary editor Leon Wieseltier. The resignations followed clashes with Mr Hughes over the magazine’s direction. Reuters reported that Mr Hughes has pumped over US$ 20m into the magazine to date.
Hughes lived in the same room at Harvard University with Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's founder. Many renowned journalists slammed Mr Hughes’ leadership at The New Republic. “You don’t get to destroy a 100-year-old institution,” said CNN media reporter Dylan Byers.
Orange Eyes Bouygues' Telecoms Arm
3 January 2016
French state-controlled telecoms group Orange (ORAN.PA) is in talks with conglomerate Bouygues (BOUY.PA) to buy Bouygues’ telecoms arm for €10bn (US$10.86bn), according to French media.
According to the terms of the deal now being discussed, Bouygues would receive a 15% stake in Orange valued at €8bn and some €2bn in cash. None of the parties commented on the deal. They have reportedly signed a confidentiality agreement on this transaction. A deal would lead to a decrease in the number of telcos in France from four to three.
Accel Partners's Flipkart Stake Not Sold to Qataris
21 December 2015
Flipkart, India’s giant online retailer, denied today reports in the media that said venture capital firm Accel Partners sold a stake in Flipkart to sovereign wealth fund Qatar Investment Authority (QIA). Reuters reported that Accel Partners pocketed some US$100m from the deal. Accel Partners is the second largest shareholder in Flipkart after the New York-based hedge fund Tiger Global Management.
Accel Partners has stakes in a myriad of companies, operating in mobile, media, security and retail, among other industries. It owns stakes in outlets such as Vox Media, Facebook, Dropbox, Brightcove, Slack and Spotify.
Alibaba Not Buying Ming Pao
17 December 2015
Alibaba Group Holding (BABA.N) denied rumors that it was in talks to acquire Hong Kong's Ming Pao newspaper, Reuters reported. The news about Alibaba seeking to buy Ming Pao was published by The Australian Financial Review, which cited sources close to the deal.
PR Newswire Sold to Cision
15 December 2015
UBM (UBM.L) announced sale of the distributor PR Newswire to Cision, a company controlled by GTCR Canyon Holdings. The value of the deal was $841m. UBM wants to focus instead on its event organization business.
Shares in UBM rose by 7% to 506.5 pence on Tuesday morning on the London Stock Exchange. The company has tried to sell PR Newswire since April 2015.
Alibaba Buys South China Morning Post
14 December 2015
Alibaba Group Holding (BABA.N) agreed to pay $266m to acquire the South China Morning Post and other media assets of SCMP Group (0583.HK). The deal has raised question regarding the newspaper’s editorial independence in the future.
South China Morning Post, a 112-year-old English language newspaper was controlled by the Malaysian tycoon Robert Kuok. It is Hong Kong’s leading English-language newspaper, known for its reports on issues and topics that are considered sensitive in mainland China.
Alibaba last June agreed to pay $194m for a stake in the financial media firm China Business News.
Yahoo Drops Plan to Sell to Alibaba
9 December 2015
Yahoo (YHOO.O) abandoned plans to spin off its stake in China’s e-commerce behemoth Alibaba Group Holding (BABA.N). The move was the result of pressures from activist investors worried about billions of dollars that were to be paid in taxes. Yahoo instead wants to create a separate company to manage the rest of its assets.
The plan to spin off the Alibaba stake was pushed forward mainly by Yahoo’s CEO Marissa Mayer. Following the announcement, shares in Yahoo were lower for most of the trading session, finishing down by 1.3% at $34.40. Some analysts called Yahoo “a sinking ship” after the drop of Alibaba’s plans.
Tribune Publishing Denies Rumors About Sale
1 December 2015
Tribune Publishing Co (TPUB.N) said it was not in negotiations to sell itself. The announcement followed a tweet by News Corp’s (NWSA.O) Rupert Murdoch on Friday suggesting Tribune group would be sold. Tribune Publishing's shares grew by 4.3% at $9.69, in early trading, according to Reuters. The group, which also owns the Chicago Tribune, would be bought by a Wall Street firm, Mr Murdoch suggested in the tweet. Politico cited sources saying that Apollo Global Management (APO.N) had approached Tribune Publishing about a month ago.
PR Newswire Association to Be Sold
27 November 2015
UBM (UBM.L) is close to a decision to sell the press release distributor PR Newswire Association. Reuters reports that Cision and Vista Equity Partners Management are competing to acquire PR Newswire Association.
Vision is a provider of public relations software and intelligence. It is owned by private equity firm GTCR. Vista Equity is a private equity firm focused on software and technology-enabled businesses. UBM seeks to sell PR Newswire for more than $700m. GTCR has been buying several companies in the public relations software field recently. It bought Cision in 2014 and merged it with peer Vocus. It then acquired Gorkana Group, a media intelligence and data insights service provider.
Alibaba Wants to Buy South China Morning Post
26 November 2015
Chinese internet retailer Alibaba Group Holding (BABA.N) wants to buy Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post, according to sources knowledgeable of the talks.
Publisher SCMP Group (0583.HK) said earlier that it had received an offer from an unidentified third party who wants to buy its media assets, which include South China Morning Post. The newspaper is read mostly by the English-speaking elite in Hong Kong. Bloomberg reported that Alibaba’s CEO Jack Ma was in advanced talks to acquire a stake in SCMP.
Starboard Asks Yahoo to Sell Its Core Businesses
20 November 2015
Activist investor Starboard Value asked Yahoo (YHOO.O) to abandon plans to sell its stake in Alibaba Group Holdings (BABA.N) because of tax concerns. They want Yahoo to instead sell its core search and display advertising businesses. The hedge fund Starboard said that they are a “significant shareholder”, Reuters reported.
Initially, Starboard supported the planned spinoff of the Alibaba stake, now worth nearly $30bn. But a the U.S. Internal Revenue Service in September denied Yahoo’s request for a private letter clarifying whether the transaction would be tax free. Yahoo was worth some $31bn as of 18 November’s close. Today, Yahoo’s shares increased as much as 1.6%, but were flat at midday. Alibaba was up 1.4% today. Lately, Yahoo's search and display ad businesses, which are the company’s core revenue generators, have yielded little results. Analysts say that Yahoo’s wherewithal is in its businesses in Asia, namely Alibaba and Yahoo Japan Corp. It owns stakes in both.
Media General Rejects Takeover Offer
16 November 2015
Media General (MEG.N) rejected an offer worth $4.1bn for takeover from Nexstar Broadcasting Group, arguing that it “significantly undervalued” the company. However, Media General said that it would continue discussions with Nexstar to reach a deal, Reuters reported.
Earlier in September 2015, hedge fund Starboard Value unveiled a 4.5% stake in regional TV broadcaster Media General. It urged the company to sell itself to Nexstar Broadcasting Group (NXST.O) and to abandon plans to buy Meredith Corp (MDP.N).
Nexstar is an operator of regional TV stations in the U.S., which is similar to Media General’s business. A merger of the two would further consolidate ownership in regional television in the American market.
Daily Mail Shares Fell Sharply
13 November 2015
Shares in Daily Mail & General Trust (DMGT) in the U.K. tumbled after Panmure Gordon downgraded the stock to ‘sell' from 'hold' and cut the price target to 700p from 760p ahead of the company's prelims, Barclays Stockbrokers informed. DMGT usually offers its first view of final year 2016 guidance with its the final year 2015 prelims, which are due on 25 November 2015.
Ahead of this, the brokerage analyzed current estimates and found them still looking materially too high. Panmure cut its 2016 earnings per share estimate by 7% to 58p and its 2017 estimate by 19% to 56.6p.
Hulu Wants to Sell a Stake to Time Warner
13 November 2015
Hulu, the video-streaming service wants to sell a stake to Time Warner (TWX.N), according to Wall Street Journal. Hulu is valued at some $5bn. The deal would consist of a cash investment as well as content licensing.
Time Warner wants to become an equal stakeholder with the other owners of Hulu. Now, the service is owned by Disney-ABC Television Group, Fox Broadcasting Company and NBCUniversal Television Group.
ITV Gains Ground
10 November 2015
Broadcaster ITV from Britain (ITV.L) gained ground after saying it was on track for double digit profit growth for the full year as it posted a strong third quarter book, according to Barclays Stockbrokers.
ITV said it is on track for a double digit growth in full year profit, after posting a strong third quarter numbers, with total revenue up 13% in the first nine months of the year to £2.3bn, driven by a 7% increase in broadcast and online revenue of £1.5bn. Broadcast advertising revenue took the lion's share, with net advertising revenue on the ITV Family of channels up 6% to £1.22bn.
Shares in Time Warner Down
9 November 2015
Shares in Time Warner Inc. (TWX) closed today’s session down by 0.54% to $68.49 on heavy trading volume as cord cutting is "intensifying at breakneck speed," according to CNBC.com.
The Street quoted BTIG Analyst Rich Greefield as saying that “there is a seismic change in consumer behavior that is affecting the entire media sector.” He added that overall people are increasingly losing interest in watching live linear television.
Russian CTC Media's Revenues Down
9 November 2015
CTC Media (CTCM) saw its revenues in Q3 2015 slipping heavily both in dollar terms and in rubles as Russia's TV ad market contracted about 13% overall. Sales were down in Q3 2015 by 15% in ruble terms, and plummeted by 51% in dollars as the U.S. currency continues to strengthen.
The company declined to make forecasts for the full 2015 due to "continued limited visibility". Some 75% of CTC Media is being sold to Alisher Usmanov’s UTH Russia for a reportedly $200m, a deal likely to be concluded in December, according to MarketWatch. Predominant analyst estimate: hold.
Chinese YouTube Growing Value
6 November 2015
Alibaba, China’s e-commerce giant, offered some $3.7bn for the Chinese YouTube, the video site Youku Tudou, Reuters reported. Youku Tudou has more than half a billion online video users. Youku Tudou's American Depositary Shares increased by 10% to $26.80 in premarket trading today.
Alibaba held 18.3% of Youku Tudou in mid October 2015. The new offer values the rest of Youku Tudou at about $4.8 billion, according to Reuters.
LinkedIn's Price up Thanks to Growing Earnings
30 October 2015
LinkedIn’s price target was bumped to $280 from $250 at KeyBanc Capital Markets, The Street’s Analysts’ Actions reported. This follows strong third quarter earnings posted by the professional networking service (LNKD) after the market closed on 29 October 2015. Both its top and bottom line topped forecasts.
Telecom Italia Stock up Following Iliad's Move
30 October 2015
Shares in Telecom Italia (TME.MI) rose sharply for a second day. They gained more than 3 percent after the founder of Iliad increased its stake in the Italian telecoms group to 15 percent. This was a seven-year high for Telecom Italia's shares. In September 2015, the Italian government sold spectrum to Telecom Italia worth €230.3m. The frequencies are to be used for deployment of 4G services.
Russian Mikhail Fridman Finances Oi to Merge with TIM
30 October 2015
Telecommunications group Oi (OIBR3.SA) and investment firm LetterOne said today that they started exclusive financing negotiations for a merger with rival TIM Participacoes (TIMP3.SA). LetterOne is owned by Russian businessman Mikhail Fridman. The company wants to pump some $4bn into Oi if it merges with TIM. That would lead to the largest mobile carrier in Brazil.
Reuters reported that an offer from Oi’s to the Russian investment firm to keep the negotiations exclusive for seven months was accepted by LetterOne.
ProSiebenSat.1 Expects Double-Digit Growth
29 October 2015
German broadcast group ProSiebenSat.1 (PSMGn.DE) signed a new long-term deal with Disney (DIS.N). The deal gives ProSiebenSat.1 access to new Hollywood blockbusters. For the first time, it includes access to series of the ABC Studios for ProSiebenSat.1’s pay-TV platform.
The German broadcaster says that Disney’s popular offering has led to an increase in its audience share to 30.1% in the third quarter of 2015. This was the highest figure per quarter achieved in 15 years. ProSieben expects in 2015 a low double-digit percentage growth. This is an improvement from the previous forecast for a high single-digit increase.
Owner of Virgin Media Eyes Caribbean Cable Operator
22 October 2015
Liberty Global (LBTYA.O) is in talks with Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC.L) about a potential merger that would extend Liberty’s reach in the Caribbean where Cable & Wireless Communications has a strong position. Cable & Wireless is valued at some $4.6bn. Liberty Global has to make an offer until 19 November. John Malone, Liberty Media Corp’s chairman bought a 13% stake in Cable & Wireless Communications in spring 2015.
Liberty Global owns stakes in the pay-TV company Virgin Media and the TV channel ITV in the U.K. Cable & Wireless boasted over 5m subscribers in March 2014, according to data from from the company.
Gannett Buying Journal Media Group
8 October 2015
Gannett (GCI), publisher of USA Today, announced that it would buy Journal Media Group for $280m. The deal is likely to add to Gannett’s earnings up to 15 cents per share in the first year and another 25 cents in the second year. The deal is expected to be closed in the first quarter of 2016. The deal is yet to be approved by Journal Media’s shareholders.
Journal Media Group was formed last April through the merger of E.W. Scripps and Journal Communications' newspaper operations. Journal Media Group today owns nearly 20 newspapers in the U.S. including San Angelo Standard-Times in Texas, The Commercial Appeal in Tennessee and The Anderson Independent-Mail in South Carolina. Gannett is the largest newspaper publisher by daily circulation. Besides USA Today, it owns a slew of non-national newspapers such as The Arizona Republic, The Cincinnati Enquirer and The Indianapolis Star.
Axel Springer Buys Business Insider
29 September 2015
German publishing group Axel Springer (AXELF) is to acquire some 88% of news website Business Insider for $343 million. That is to increase Axel Springer’s stake in the company to 97%. Business Insider has some 76m monthly visitors.
The move is part of Axel Springer to grow in the English-Language market. Much of the portal’s audience is 18 to 34 years-old. Business Insider was founded in 2009 by Kevin P. Ryan, the former CEO of DoubleClick, a subsidiary of Google selling ad services to client.
Activist Investor Forces Media General to Be Swallowed by Nexstar
29 September 2015
Hedge fund Starboard Value unveiled a 4.5% stake in regional TV broadcaster Media General (MEG.N). It urges the company to sell itself to Nexstar Broadcasting Group Inc (NXST.O) and abandon plans to buy Meredith Corp (MDP.N). Starboard also announced intentions to nominate a new group of directors at Media General. Starboard, known as an activist investor, last year managed to replace directors in other companies it entered. The fund is run by Jeffrey Smith.
Meredith Corp is publisher of Family Circle and Better Homes and Gardens. Nexstar is an operator of regional TV stations in the U.S., which is similar to Media General’s business. A merger of the two would further consolidate ownership in regional television in the American market.