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Merger and Acquisition

United Kingdom Ordered Meta, Formerly Facebook, to Sell Giphy

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The United Kingdom’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has instructed Meta – formerly known as Facebook – to sell Giphy, the American search engine that allows users search for and share short looping videos which are without sound, that are similar to animated GIF files.

The CMA stated that the merger deal could possibly be harmful to social media users and advertisers in the UK. It also found that the deal would further boost Meta’s already strong market power, as it would limit other platforms’ ability to use Giphy GIFs, which will, in turn, drive more traffic to sites owned by Facebook (WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook).

According to the CMA, Meta’s sites dominated social media usage time up to around 73 percent, and could eventually outperform social media rivals like TikTok, Twitter and Snapchat by leveraging Giphy. The Authority then added that before the merger, Giphy had launched ”innovative advertising services” which brands like Dunkin’ Donuts and Pepsi which it could possibly have brought to the United Kingdom.

The CMA also stated that at the time the merger was made, Giphy’s advertising services were terminated by Facebook. That move removed a vital part of potential opposition in the market. The CMA was concerned by this move, calling it particularly concerning considering that Facebook is in control of about half of the £7 billion display advertising market in the UK.

Facebook had acquired Giphy for a reported fee of $400 million, with an aim of integrating the service into Instagram. After a month, the CMA started an investigation into the merger and decided in August that Facebook could hinder social media rivals such as TikTok and Snapchat from tapping into Giphy’s GIFs.

Meta had initially stated that the CMA did not have jurisdiction because Giphy was not operational in the United Kingdom, adding later that Giphy’s paid services were not display advertising by the definition of the CMA.

In October, Meta was fined $70 million by the CMA for breaking some rules related to the deal by failing to report necessary information and changing its chief compliance officer on two different occasions without receiving permission.

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Merger and Acquisition

Nigerian Owned Pleasures Magazine Founder Adedotun Olaoluwa Acquires American Media Giant Gannett’s Shares

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Globally acclaimed Dotmount Communications Group, publishers of Pleasures Magazine today announced its acquisition of Gannett Co.Inc’s shares, a highly respected diversified news and media information company that operates in broadcasting, publishing, and digital, in a move expected to enhance the Dotmount Communications’s global reach with comprehensive integrated services for a strong stable of clients and projects.

Gannett (GCI) is a diversified news and media information company that operates in broadcasting, publishing, and digital. The most famous brand the company owns is USA Today. Its broadcasting segment runs 43 TV stations; its publishing segment provides daily content through more than 80 daily publications and more than 400 non-daily local publications; and its digital segment covers content through digital platforms, digital marketing services, and an online HR software solution.

“In just ten years of existence, the parent company of Pleasures Magazine, Dotmount Communications Group has made an extraordinary impact in the ever-evolving world of media and digital marketing — establishing itself as an emerging dominant player in the field, we are thrilled with this addition to our growing roster of media platforms,” says Adedotun Babatunde Olaoluwa, President and Executive Chairman of Dotmount Communications Group.

“We respect and recognize that chairman Mike Reed has been at the forefront of thought leadership about the convergence of media platforms – and his team’s abilities will be great assets for our firm.”

Dotmount’s new acquisition comes on the heels of a string of acquisitions over the past two years. Since fall 2019, the company has snapped up shares from major media companies.

Dotmount Communications Group, an international strategic communications consultancy that uses an in-depth understanding of public, commercial and political drivers to provide insightful strategic counsel and meet complex communications challenges.

The group has over the years supported government, corporate and private entities, delivering sophisticated communications programmes that shape awareness, guide opinion and enhance understanding on a national, regional and international basis.

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Merger and Acquisition

Titan Trust Bank to Acquire Union Bank as Atlas Mara, Others Sell 89.4 Percent Stake

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Titan Trust Bank Limited, the newest national commercial bank in Nigeria is set to acquire an 89.4 percent stake in Union Bank of Nigeria Plc.

This followed an agreement reached by Union Global Partners Limited and other major shareholders to divest 89.39 percent shareholding in Union Bank to Titan Trust Bank.

In May 2021, Investors King reported that Atlas Mara Limited, a London Stock Exchange-listed company, was looking to offset its 49.97 percent stake in Union Bank of Nigeria Plc and exit Africa. Zenith Bank, Access Bank and others were reportedly in talks with Atlas Mara to acquire its stake in Union Bank, according to a Bloomberg report.

In a not so surprising statement, Union Bank of Nigeria Plc on Thursday announced it has received notification from Union Global Partners Ltd and other existing shareholders of the bank (presumed to be Atlas Mara Limited and other minority holders) of their intentions to relinquish a combined 89.39 percent stake in Union Bank to a new buyer, Titan Trust Bank.

The board of Union Bank of Nigeria Plc disclosed this in a statement signed by Somuyiwa Sonubi, Company Secretary and obtained by Investors King. The bank added that the agreement, which is subject to regulatory approvals and other financial conditions, would upon completion transfer 89.39 percent of Union Bank’s issued share capital to Titan Trust Bank.

Commenting on the development, the Chairperson of Union Bank, Mrs. Beatrice Hamza Bassey said, “on behalf of the Board, we congratulate all the parties involved in reaching this phase of the transaction and the Board looks forward to supporting the next steps to ensure a seamless completion of the process following regulatory approvals. We are grateful to our current investors whose significant and consequential investments over the past nine years facilitated the transformation of Union Bank, one of Nigeria’s oldest and storied institutions. Today, the Bank is well-positioned with an innovative product offering, a growing customer base of over six million and consistent year on year profitability. This is a solid foundation for our incoming investors to build on as we move into a new era for the Bank.”

On his part, the Chairman of Titan Trust Bank, Mr. Tunde Lemo, OFR said, “The Board of Titan Trust Bank and our key stakeholders are delighted as this transaction marks a key step for Titan Trust in its strategic growth journey and propels the institution to the next level in the Nigerian banking sector. The deal represents a unique opportunity to combine Union Bank’s longstanding and leading banking franchise with TTB’s innovation-led model which promises to enhance the product and service offering for our combined valued customers.”

Established in 1917 and listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange in 1971, Union Bank is one of Nigeria’s long-standing and most respected financial institutions. The Bank has a network of over 280 Sales and Service Centers across Nigeria.

Similarly, Titan Trust Bank is the newest national commercial bank in Nigeria. Started by a former CBN Deputy Governor, Tunde Lemo, It commenced operation in October 2019 with a strong capital base and demonstrated precision in the execution of its strategy by showing tremendous growth, even in difficult times.

Edited by Samed Olukoya.

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Merger and Acquisition

WarnerMedia & Discovery Receive Green Light for Merger

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The proposed merger between Discovery and WarnerMedia, which would see the former acquire the latter from under the umbrella of telecoms giant AT&T, has finally been given the green light by the European Commission to go ahead.

Discovery announced today that it has finally received unconditional antitrust approval for the deal from the European Commission, bringing it one step closer to the completion of the merger. The plans to move WarnerMedia from under AT&T to merge with Discovery were first announced in May this year, but only today did the European Commisson – the executive body of the European Union – give the deal the much-needed go-ahead.

Plans for the merger included David Zaslav, current President and Chief Executive Officer of Discovery continuing as the CEO of the new merged company. AT&T and Discovery plans to bring television stations like CNN, TBS, TNT, HGTV, Food Network and Discovery Channel together under one umbrella. It also plans to include streaming services HBO Max (owned by Warner Bros.) and Discovery+.

According to Discovery, the deal is expected to be closed in mid-2022, as it still waits on other approvals from regulatory bodies and the final go ahead from the company’s shareholders. AT&T’s shareholders do not need to give any approval for the deal to go through.

The deal has been said to be worth $43 billion. The decision from AT&T to sell WarnerMedia to Discovery for just over half of the price it was bought shows that WarnerMedia (which was known as Time Warner at the time of the initial acquisition) did not live up to the expectations placed on it by the telecoms company.

AT&T acquired WarnerMedia back in 2018 for a fee of $85 billion, as the streaming market began to experience a battle of strength, dominated by heavyweights Netflix and Disney.

Now, the new deal is expected to pile pressure on streaming heavyweights Netflix and Disney, as the combined strength of Discovery and WarnerMedia is sure to place the new “Warner Bros. Discovery” company in direct competition with other streaming heavyweights.

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