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January 2019


BUSINESS NEWS


VERIMATRIX SOLD

Inside Secure a company providing security solutions for mobile & connected devices, has entered into an agreement to acquire Verimatrix, Inc. an independent software security provider for video services.

Verimatrix employs more than 300 people in 20 countries, with most significant operations in California and in Germany

Verimatrix generated approx. 5% growth to $78.7 million in revenues during the 12-month period ended September 30, 2018.

This is an all-cash transaction of approximately $143 million, (including assumption of $18 million estimated net cash) and an estimated contingent earn-out of $9 million payable in Q2 2019. The transaction fully funded through a combination of available cash (approximately $38 million), a private debt ($54 million) provided by Apera Capital, and equity (EUR 52 million, approximately $60 million).

The transaction expected to close in the first quarter of 2019.


AIRTEL TO SELL 32% INFRATEL STAKE

Bharti Airtel has decided to sell 32% in Bharti Infratel, reducing its stake in the listed tower unit from 50.33% to 18.33%.

The Airtel board has "approved the sale/transfer of up to 591.87 million equity shares (32%) of Bharti Infratel, to its wholly-owned subsidiary, Nettle Infrastructure Investments Ltd, to explore a potential monetisation of its Infratel stake, subject to the approval of shareholders," the company said in a regulatory filing on BSE.

The Bharti Airtel board also appointed a panel to explore various other fund-raising options and named Badal Bagri as the company's new CFO, who will replace global CFO Nilanjan Roy, who has resigned, and is joining Infosys.


YOU BROADBAND IN THE RED

Vodafone Idea-owned You Broadband India posted a net loss of ₹ 25.7 crore during the fiscal ended 31 March 2018 as against a net profit of ₹ 20.3 crore in the previous fiscal.

The ISP's revenue grew to ₹ 180.7 crore from ₹ 170 crore in the previous fiscal.

Incorporated in 2001, You Broadband was fully acquired by Vodafone India with effect from June 2017. Vodafone recently merged with Idea Cellular to create India's largest telecom company in terms of revenue and subscribers.



You Broadband declared an aggressive expansion plan entailing a Capex of over ₹ 600 crore in the next 2 fiscals, compared to a capex of ₹ 54 crore in fiscal 2017. The Capex was to be funded through a vendor financing arrangement with a credit period of a year.





EROS TO RESTRUCTURE

Eros International Plc is planning to make changes to its current corporate structure, to simplify it and make it more transparent. A board has been constituted to explore solutions to simplify the corporate structure. "The board has appointed a committee to investigate potential solutions, which we believe could include de-listing or acquiring outstanding shares in the Indian subsidiary," said Jefferies LLC in its research dated November 15.

This, however, would require joint action with Reliance Industries (RIL), which in February, bought a 5% stake in Eros with a commitment to invest up to ₹ 1,000 crore to produce & acquire Indian films and digital originals across all languages.

In 2017, RIL also bought a 24.9% stake in Alt Balaji, a wholly owned subsidiary of Balaji Telefilms, for ₹ 413 crore. Alt Balaji is a subscription-based video-on-demand platform.


MALAYALA MANORAMA UPS INVESTMENT

Malayala Manorama Company Limited (MMCL) has invested ₹ 154.55 crore in its TV broadcasting subsidiary MMTV, which owns and operates GEC Mazhavol Manorama and news channel Manorama News.

MMCL's total investment in subsidiaries and associated companies as on 31 March 2018 amounted to ₹ 204.01 crore out of which investment in MMTV was ₹ 154.55 crore.

MMCL had extended ₹ 21 Crore as advance to its Dubai based subsidiary Malayala Manorama Fujairah LLC during FY15 which was converted to equity investment during FY16.



RUSSIA: CTC MEDIA FOR SALE

The Russian national commercial broadcaster CTC Media, once backed by Modern Times Group (MTG), is on the verge of another major ownership change.

Ivan Tavrin's UTV Holding, which controls 75% of CTC Media, is in the final stages of selling its interest in the broadcaster to a consortium of National Media Group (NMG) and VTB, with the deal likely to be closed by the end of the year.

With the remaining 25% of CTC Media already owned by Cyprusregistered Telcrest, whose owners are NMG, VTB, Severstal's owner Alexei Mordashov and Sugutneftegaz, the broadcaster will effectively be controlled by NMG.

It will also see NMG become the leading player in Russia's TV market, with its operations accounting for a combined audience share of 24%.

No financial details of the deal have been disclosed.



BBC SEEKS NEW BREXIT LICENSE

The BBC is in talks with Irish and Dutch authorities to obtain broadcast licences allowing it to continue broadcasting to the European Union, after Brexit.

The BBC needs European licences for its international channels.

Over 500 pan-European channels have established their Europe offices in the UK. They will have to relocate to EU countries. Turner Broadcasting System Deutschland and NBC Universal Global Networks Deutschland have already shifted.

Getting a broadcast licence in another country requires the broadcaster to have their international operations office, a significant part of their programming workforce & a satellite up-link in the country to qualify for a licence there. n