Yahoo Ad Partner Media.net Sells to China Group for $900 Million

A group of Chinese investors said it’s acquiring ad-tech startup Media.net for about $900 million in cash, with plans to eventually sell the company to an obscure telecommunications firm whose shares have been suspended from trading since last year. Media.net, which is based in Dubai and New York, is touting this as the third-largest ad-tech acquisition in history. However, the complex deal more closely resembles a reverse merger, where a private company takes over a public one and bypasses the formalities of an initial public offering.

Technology entrepreneur Divyank Turakhia started Media.net in 2010 and bootstrapped the business. The company provides the technology powering contextual ads offered by Yahoo! Inc. and Microsoft Corp.’s Bing search engine. The system is similar to one offered by Google, choosing which ads to show based on the content of the web page they appear on.

The deal comes as merger activity involving ad-tech companies is declining. There were 43 deals

Comcast in Talks to Buy DreamWorks Animation for More Than $3 Billion

Comcast Corp. is in talks to buy DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. for more than $3 billion, according to people familiar with the matter, in a deal that could make the cable giant a rival to Walt Disney Co. in the lucrative family-entertainment business.

Comcast’s Universal Pictures studio has enjoyed success in recent years with its animated “Despicable Me” and “Minions” movies but is still a relatively small player.

Its parent company, though, has been moving aggressively to mimic Disney by using its animation properties to build out its consumer products and theme parks businesses, a strategy that could be accelerated by the addition of DreamWorks, which makes the “Shrek,” “Kung Fu Panda,” and “Madagascar” movies, among others. . As with all such talks, a deal may not be reached. The tentative purchase price represents a healthy premium over DreamWorks’ current $2.3 billion market value.

Gannett Offers to Buy Tribune Publishing

Gannet Co. proposed to acquire Tribune Publishing Co. in a deal valued at about $400 million, as the owner of the USA Today seeks to add the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune to its portfolio of newspapers in a rapidly consolidating industry.

The offer values Tribune shares at $12.25 each in cash, a 63% premium to their closing price Friday. Gannett said that when including the assumption of Tribune’s debt, the deal has an overall value of $815 million.

WME-IMG Receives $250 Million Investment From Japan’s SoftBank

Japanese conglomerate SoftBank has made a $250 million investment in WME-IMG.

The deal values the talent agency and its content and event production operations at about $5.5 billion, according to the Financial Times, which first reported the Softbank investment. The deal gives SoftBank about 8% of the equity in the agency.

“Ari, Patrick and the rest of WME-IMG’s talented management team have a strong record of performance and transformation at the intersection of entertainment, sports and fashion,” said SoftBank director Ron Fisher, who managed the investment process. “We look forward to supporting WME-IMG as it advances the next phase of its growth, further developing and driving its client and content offerings.”

You Can Now Get Comcast TV and Internet Service Through Amazon

The media conglomerate has begun selling its Xfinity TV, phone, and Internet services through Amazon . Comcast’s service bundles are available through Amazon.com’s recently debuted Amazon Cable Store, a web page whose existence was first reported on Sunday by the television news outletsTV Predictions.

Comcast customers have long complained about the company’s shoddy customer service. “We’re improving dramatically, but we can always do better,” said Brian Roberts, CEO of Comcast, at Fortune’s Global Forum conference this year. Now the company is tapping Amazon’s expertise to make its online sales and support interactions smoother.

IHS and Markit to Merge, Creating Data Heavyweight

Information and analytics provider IHS Inc. and market-data firm Markit Ltd. said Monday they will merge, a so-called inversion deal that will create a data heavyweight based in London.

The deal joins a wave of inversions that have taken place recently, where a U.S. firm buys a foreign company and moves headquarters to a lower tax jurisdiction, typically by merging with a smaller foreign firm.

After Monday’s deal, shareholders of IHS, which has a market value of about $7.5 billion as of Friday’s close, will own about 57% of the combined company. Shareholders of London-based Markit, which had a value of roughly $5.2 billion, will own about 43% of the firm. The new company will be based in London and have “certain key operations” in Englewood, Colo., IHS’s home.

AMC’s Deal for Carmike Cinemas Boosts Chinese Control of U.S. Theaters

AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. agreed to buy Carmike Cinemas Inc. in a cash deal that would make a Chinese-owned company the largest movie-theater operator in the U.S.

AMC will pay $30 a share for Carmike for a total payout of $1.1 billion, including the assumption of some Carmike debt, the companies said Thursday. The price is a nearly 20% premium to Carmike’s closing share price of $25.11 on Nasdaq.

Telenor Jumps Into Ad Tech, Acquires Tapad For $360M

Verizon isn’t the only carrier that wants to ramp up in ad tech to complement (and offset) its legacy business. Today, Norway-based Telenor announced that it has acquired Tapad, a New York-based cross-device retargeting startup co-founded by two Norwegians, Are Traasdahl and Dag Liodden, for $360 million “on a debt and cash-free basis.”

The price covers 95% of the company. Traasdahl and Liodden are together keeping the remaining 5%. The deal is expected to close Q1 2016, subject to regulatory conditions. On paper it represents a big premium on the amount the startup raised:just under $34 million in four rounds of funding. It’s not clear what valuation Tapad had before its exit.

Tapad was backed by Spring Capital (which owned 46.5% of the company), FirstMark Capital, Firsthand Technology, Avalon Ventures, WPP and Metamorphic Ventures. Traasdahl, notably, is the president of Spring Capital, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Dalian Wanda clinches deal for Legendary Entertainment

Chinese property and investment firm Dalian Wanda Group has agreed to acquire a majority stake in Legendary Entertainment, valuing the U.S. movie studio company at between $3 billion and $4 billion, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The move represents Wanda's latest bid to expand overseas and become a major player in the U.S. entertainment industry following its acquisition of AMC Entertainment Holdings, the second-largest movie theater chain in North America, for $2.6 billion in 2012.

Lyft, Now Worth $5.5 Billion, Hops Into The Autonomous Car Race With General Motors

Lyft announced the close of its $1 billion Series F round today – half a billion of which came in from General Motors. The ridesharing service is now worth a whopping $5.5 billion and plans to use the money to work with GM on a connected network for self-driving cars.

The other $500 million came from Saudi Prince Al-Waleed’s Kingdom Holding Company, Janus Capital Management, and previous investors Didi, Rakuten, and Alibaba.

Disney Looks to Sell Fusion Stake to Univision

Walt Disney Co. is looking to sell its stake in new media brand Fusion to co-owner Univision, according to published reports Tuesday.

The two-year-old venture, which is focused on serving news and lifestyle content to millennials, is a mix of digital properties and a cable network. Disney and Univision declined comment.

Univision, the largest owner of Latino-centric content in the U.S., was a natural partner for Fusion when it first launched in 2013 with more of an emphasis on attracting Latinos stateside. But Fusion eventually pivoted to chase a broader audience, one it hasn’t so clearly connected with as the venture has been criticized for not resonating in the marketplace.

Tyco To Acquire Retail Analytics Leader Shoppertrak

Tyco (NYSE: TYC), an Ireland based global corporation known for fire suppression and security, has announced plans to acquire Chicago based retail analytics provider Shoppertrak for roughly $175 million in cash.

Even if the name doesn’t ring a bell, you know Shoppertrak’s numbers. Each holiday season, when you hear reports on holiday shopping activity, the numbers come from Shoppertrak. Shoppertrak knows how many people are shopping, where they go and how much they spend. Since its founding in 1993, the company has monitored the movements of shoppers, using now-traditional detectors to count people passing through store entrances, newer pressure-sensitive floor mats and now by detecting signals from mobile phones.

Alibaba Agrees to Purchase Hong Kong's South China Morning Post

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., the e-commerce giant headed by billionaire Jack Ma, agreed to buy Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post and other affiliated media assets as the Internet tycoon follows in the footsteps of Jeff Bezos in pursuing the revival of a century-old newspaper.

Though financial terms weren’t disclosed, Alibaba said in a statement on Friday that the purchase will include the flagship newspaper and other related businesses including magazine and recruitment. The Chinese company also said it will scrap the publication’s Internet pay wall and that editorial decisions will be made "in the newsroom, not in the corporate boardroom."

Vivendi acquires video gaming companies Ubisoft and Gameloft

Vivendi SA, the French media company with a cash pile of $10 billion bought minority stakes in two video-game developing company Ubisoft Entertainment SA and Gameloft SE for around $183 million. The share value of two companies jumped in Paris trading.

Red Hat Acquires Ansible, as Tech M&A Continues

Red Hat Inc. (NYSE: RHT) is acquiring information-technology automation company Ansible Inc. The buyer expects the deal to help customers more simply deploy and manage cloud and other software.

Ansible, headquartered in New York, helps companies organize and automate cloud-based applications. The company has about $6 million in venture capital backing from Menlo Ventures and e.ventures.

Condé Nast Buys Privately Held Pitchfork Media

In a deal that gives it immediate access to younger male readership, Condé Nast has purchased privately held Pitchfork Media Inc., owner of online music publication Pitchfork.com, a related quarterly print magazine and the producer of music festivals in Chicago and Paris. The price wasn’t disclosed.

The acquisition is the first purchase that Bob Sauerberg, president of Condé Nast, has made since he was named CEO in September. That promotion becomes effective in January.

Axel Springer Buys 88% of Business Insider for $343 Million

German media company Axel Springer SE agreed to take over Business Insider Inc. in a $343 million deal, accelerating its push into English-language news after losing out a bidding contest for the Financial Times two months ago.

Axel Springer said Tuesday it is purchasing 88 percent of the news site, boosting its stake to about 97 percent. Amazon.com Inc. founder Jeff Bezos will own the remaining 3 percent of the New York-based site, which has 76 million monthly unique visitors.

Liberty-Vodafone talks collapse

Talks between Liberty Global and Vodafone over a possible asset swap are at an end, at least for now.

“On 5 June 2015, Vodafone Group Plc (“Vodafone”) confirmed that it was in the early stages of discussions with Liberty Global Plc (“Liberty Global”) regarding a possible exchange of selected assets between the two companies. Vodafone today announces that discussions with Liberty Global have terminated,” the telco said in a brief statement.

Nexstar Offers $4.1 Billion for Media General

Perry Sook thinks he has a better deal for the shareholders of Media General.

Rather than buying Meredith, the CEO of Nexstar Broadcasting believes it should be selling to him.

To that end, Nexstar announced this morning that it is offering $4.1 billion for Media General (which includes assumption of debt). That's $14.50 in cash and stock, a 30% premium over Friday's closing price, plus assumption of debt.

With management's support, Sook said, Nexstar could have a definitive merger agreement on the table in 20 days.