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Tech Deals Still Going Despite COVID-19 Outbreak

By MBN Staff | Tue, 03/31/2020 - 12:41

The world is going through a pandemic and governments are fighting to strengthen their health systems at the last minute to avoid a huge drop in the economy. Yet, the world does not stop. Business keeps running and big tech companies do not sit around and wait.

Vivendi just closed the sale of a 10 percent stake in Universal Music Group (UMG) - home to Drake, Imagine Dragons and Ariana Grande - to a Tencent-led consortium in a deal that valued UMG at US$33 billion. The French conglomerate, in which billionaire Vincent Bollore’s holding company has the biggest stake, said it would now examine the possible sale of other minority interests in UMG, with an initial public offering (IPO) of those assets planned for early 2023.

The now closed deal allows UMG and Tencent to expand in a recovering global music market. It gives Tencent more access to US artists, while UMG can tap into the Asian market, including big-selling “K-Pop” Korean pop stars. Although Tencent Music’s user base is nearly three times that of Spotify, it has fewer paying users. Earlier this month, Tencent Music warned it would likely see “much softer” first-quarter revenue growth due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Meanwhile, Japan Display said it has finalized a deal to raise US$200 million from “an overseas customer,” which sources have said is Apple. “The US$200 fund will come in the form of the customer purchasing equipment at Japan Display’s main smartphone screen factory in central Japan,” the company said in a statement. As Japan Display owed Apple more than US$800 million as of last year for the US$1.5 billion costs of building the plant, the fund to be raised would be used for repayment, sources told Fortune.

Within sight is also Alibaba Group, which plans to buy at least 10 percent of Yunda Holding, marking the e-commerce giant’s fifth investment in a large courier, reported Reuters. Alibaba is looking to buy the stake from Yunda’s controlling shareholders - founding couple Nie Tengyun and Chen Liying, who own 52.19 percent of Yunda through their firm Shanghai LuoJieSi Investment Managemen. At the current market price, the stake would be worth at least US$790 million.

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