Vodaphone Ups Ante In Fight For Germany’s Kabel Deutschland
It looks like a battle is brewing for Germany’s largest cable group, Kabel Deutschland. Vodafone has raised its preliminary offer to about €7.5B ($10.1B), Bloomberg sources said. That’s €85 a share compared to the €80-€82 offer that was initially rejected by Kabel. But it’s equal to a preliminary offer made by John Malone’s Liberty Global. Financial Times, meanwhile, reports that Liberty is structuring its bid to offer assets as opposed to cash. Sources told the paper that Liberty, which recently acquired the UK’s Virgin Media for $23.3B, has proposed injecting its existing German cable assets and keeping Kabel’s public listing. This would help circumvent regulatory concerns about combining Germany’s two biggest cable companies. Liberty owns the No. 2 cable outfit, Unitymedia. However, an all-cash offer could have better chances of being approved, a source told Bloomberg.
Spain Box Office Has Worst Weekend Ever, Down 25% Year-Over-Year
Spanish box office has suffered acutely in the first half of the year. Last weekend was the worst in the nation’s history with only 347,000 tickets sold for €3.7M. That’s 25% off the same weekend last year, according to reports. According to El Pais, Pedro Perez, head of the Spanish producers union FAPAE, said the industry is in “a panic.” Value-added tax was raised last year to 21% on movie tickets, a move that infuriated the industry and Perez suggested the way out is to, “get into a very aggressive pricing policy for the viewer.” There was good news, however, with local films surging to 18% market share in the first six months of the year compared with 11.5% last year. That’s largely down to Pedro Almodovar’s I’m So Excited, which Warner Bros released in Spain. For the fourth consecutive year, Spanish films did better box office outside Spain than in, raising €150M abroad compared to €110M at home with Juan Antonio Bayona’s The Impossible leading the charge.
New News Corp Share Bow At $15 A Share In Australia, Lower Than Expected
The new News Corp started trading on the Australian stock exchange on Wednesday at $15 a share, lower than analysts’ expectations, The Australian reported. The shares closed down at $14.55. The listing came ahead of the formal split of News Corp. into two entities on June 28. The new News Corp. will control the media group’s publishing businesses in Australia, the UK and the U.S. including News Limited in Australia, HarperCollins book publishing, 50% of Oz pay-TV group Foxtel, Fox Sports, online real estate business REA Group and the digital education business Amplify. Despite the stock closing down, The Australian says that the split created value for shareholders on Wednesday. Shares in 21st Century Fox, the TV, film and cable group, are still trading as News Corporation until the official split. “When you add the two stocks up, I’m reasonably happy; they ended up around where we thought they’d be,” analyst Charlie Lanchester told the paper. But, he added, “U.S. investors will probably be the main sellers of new News Corp, and that will be the real price determinant.” With investors getting one publishing share for every four News Corp shares, the combined value of the stock at Wednesday’s close was $34.17 compared to the $32.79 pre-split close on Tuesday.
Chinese Owner Of AMC Entertainment Inks Business Deals In London
The Dalian Wanda Group, which last year acquired AMC Entertainment in a $2.6B deal, is making a bold move into the UK. But rather than media assets, China’s largest commercial property and entertainment group is buying a majority stake in yacht maker Sunseeker International for $501M. Wanda also agreed to develop a real estate project in central London, which will include the company’s five-star luxury Wanda hotel, the first of its kind to be opened by a Chinese firm overseas. Wanda will invest about $1.1B in the project. Still, there is a movie element here: Sunseeker yachts have featured in at least four James Bond films.