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LONDON (Reuters) – CityFibre, a British broadband operator backed by Goldman Sachs, said it would spend 2.5 billion pounds ($ 3.25 billion) on rolling out fiber networks in 37 towns and cities, offering ultra-fast connections to as many as 5 million homes.
The company, which was bought by Goldman Sachs West Street Infrastructure Partners and private equity firm Antin for $ 750 million earlier this year, is taking on national provider BT, which has faced criticism for the extent of its own full-fiber ambitions.
CityFibre said its networks, which offer gigabit speeds, would help deliver one third of the government’s 2025 target of 15 million homes.
“Our roll out will soon bring to scale an innovative wholesale network, providing internet service providers and mobile network operators with greater choice and unrivalled technical capabilities, benefiting all sectors of the market,” Chief Executive Greg Mesch said on Wednesday.
The company signed a partnership deal last year with Vodafone to market its networks in 10 cities, including Edinburgh, Coventry and Leeds.
It said on Wednesday it had identified another 27 towns and cities, including Bristol, Glasgow and Manchester, where it would roll out full-fiber connectivity.
Reporting by Paul Sandle; editing by David Evans
SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Microsoft Corp is investing in Southeast Asian ride-hailing firm Grab as part of a partnership that the two companies said will allow them to collaborate on technology projects, including big data and artificial intelligence.
FILE PHOTO: A man walks past a Grab office in Singapore March 26, 2018. REUTERS/Edgar Su/File Photo
The companies did not disclose the deal value.
Grab had earlier said it planned to raise roughly $ 3 billion by year-end, of which it has already raised $ 2 billion.
Last week, Reuters reported that existing backer SoftBank Group Corp was closing in on a deal to invest about $ 500 million in Grab as part of the funding round.
Sources told Reuters that Grab is likely to tap strategic and financial firms for the remainder of the funding.
Before Tuesday’s deal, it raised $ 2 billion in 2018, led by Toyota Motor Corp and financial firms, including Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen’s Vulcan Capital.
Singapore-headquartered Grab has taken its ride-hailing business to 235 cities in eight countries in Southeast Asia in the past six years.
It is looking to transform itself into a leading consumer technology group, offering services such as food and parcel deliveries, electronic money transfers, micro-loans and mobile payments, besides ride-hailing.
Grab will work with Microsoft to explore mobile facial recognition, image recognition and computer vision technologies to improve the pick-up experience, the companies said in a statement on Tuesday.
For example, passengers will be able to take a photo of their current location and have it translated into an actual address for the driver.
Other areas of the five year-agreement include Grab adopting Microsoft’s Azure as its preferred cloud platform and using it for data analytics and fraud detection services.
Southeast Asia, home to some 640 million people, is shaping up as a battleground for global technology giants such as Alibaba, Tencent Holdings Ltd, JD.com, Alphabet Inc’s Google and SoftBank, particularly in ride-hailing, online payments and e-commerce.
Competition for Grab is heating up with Indonesian rival Go-Jek also expanding in the region.
Reporting by Aradhana Aravindan; Editing by Stephen Coates
(Reuters) – Pay-TV group Sky plans to step up investments in tech start-ups in Europe and the Middle East by opening a new office in Germany and investing $ 4 million in an Israeli venture capital fund.
FILE PHOTO: The Sky News logo is seen on the outside of offices and studios in west London, Britain June 29, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo
Europe’s biggest pay-TV group has built one of the most technically-advanced platforms in Europe, helped in part by investments and partnerships it has made with more than 20 companies in the United States, Britain and France.
One of its early investments was in Roku, a provider of devices that connect televisions to streaming services which listed last year.
Sky, with distribution platforms in Britain, Ireland, Germany, Italy and Austria, said it had been impressed with the tech talent in Berlin and Israel. It will scout for the most interesting companies from Berlin and invest $ 4 million in Israeli venture capital fund, Remagine Ventures.
The British company, formed in 1990, is currently at the center of a bidding battle between Rupert Murdoch’s Twenty-First Century Fox and U.S. cable giant Comcast.
Reporting by Shashwat Awasthi and Muvija M in Bengaluru; Editing by Mark Potter
HSINCHU, Taiwan (Reuters) – Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd, a supplier to Apple Inc, said on Thursday it expects to invest $ 25 billion in 5 nanometer node technology.
The firm did not provide a time frame for the investment.
Reporting By Jess Macy Yu; Writing by Anne Marie Roantree; Editing by Stephen Coates
(Reuters) – AT&T Inc is committed to spend as much as needed on the media business of newly acquired Time Warner Inc, Chief Executive Randall Stephenson told CNBC on Friday, with a plan to invest $ 21 billion to $ 22 billion in the combined company.
“We’re not going to be penny-wise and pound-foolish here,” Stephenson said in an interview on the financial news channel. “We intend to invest.”
The No. 2 U.S. wireless carrier closed its $ 85 billion acquisition of Time Warner on Thursday and now faces the task of integrating a media company into its operations as it seeks to rival Netflix Inc , Amazon.com Inc and other technology companies providing entertainment directly to customers.
That will be the job of John Stankey, who will lead the company’s combined entertainment business. Stephenson said on Friday AT&T intends to preserve Time Warner’s creative culture.
He acknowledged such differences in an email to AT&T and Time Warner employees late on Thursday, a copy of which was seen by Reuters.
“As different as our businesses are, I think you’ll find we have a lot in common,” wrote Stephenson. “We’re big fans of your talent and creativity. And you have my word that you will continue to have the creative freedom and resources to keep doing what you do best.”
Stephenson told CNBC he expects AT&T’s debt levels to come down quickly in about a year, returning to normal levels within four years at about 2.3 times earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization.
Some analysts have raised concerns about the high level of debt the company took on to acquire Time Warner, about $ 180 billion at the close of the merger, Stephenson said.
AT&T’s spending plans include investing more in HBO, the premium TV channel with the hit show “Game of Thrones,” and expanding HBO’s direct-to-consumer platform, Stephenson said.
Reporting by Sheila Dang; Additional reporting by Diane Bartz in Washington; Editing by Bill Rigby
SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Toyota Motor Corp has agreed to invest $ 1 billion in Southeast Asian ride-hailing firm Grab as a lead investor in the company’s ongoing financing round, which was launched after it bought the regional business of Uber Technologies Inc [UBER.UL].
The investment by Toyota is the largest-ever by an automaker in the global ride-hailing sector, the six-year old start-up said in a statement on Wednesday.
It is also the latest collaboration between a global vehicle maker and a technology firm as ride-hailing companies dominate the fast-growing field of mobility services, raising the risk of a future where car ownership declines in favor of such services.
Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp last month announced it would invest $ 2.25 billion in the Cruise autonomous vehicle unit of General Motors Co, while Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV and Jaguar Land Rover Automotive PLC [TAMOJL.UL] have agreed to supply vehicles for Alphabet Inc’s self-driving car subsidiary Waymo.
Toyota’s investment will allow Grab, which counts peer Didi and Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp as investors, to further expand its range of online to offline services, such as food delivery and digital payments, deeper into the region.
Grab will be valued at just over $ 10 billion after Toyota’s investment, said a person familiar with the matter.
A Toyota executive will be appointed to Grab’s board of directors and a dedicated Toyota team member will be seconded to Grab as an executive officer, the ride-hailing firm said.
Wednesday’s announcement deepens Toyota’s partnership with Grab, following an earlier, undisclosed investment by the automaker’s trading arm last year.
Toyota has installed its driving recorder devices in some vehicles operated by Grab, using the collected data stored in its mobility services platform to analyze driving patterns and develop vehicle services.
The automaker on Wednesday said by deepening the partnership, it hoped to achieve connectivity for Grab’s rental car fleet across Southeast Asia and offer financing, insurance and maintenance services to drivers based on data collected on its platform.
“Going forward, together with Grab, we will develop services that are more attractive, safe and secure for our customers in Southeast Asia,” Toyota executive Shigeki Tomoyama said in a statement.
Data collected from the recorders could also help Toyota in its own development of next-generation mobility services, including a self-driving electric vehicle it plans to develop for companies to use for tasks such as ride hailing, package delivery and mobile shops.
South Korea’s Hyundai Motor Co and Japan’s Honda Motor Co Ltd have also previously funded Grab, which said it has achieved run-rate revenue of over $ 1 billion. The company’s app has been downloaded onto over 100 million mobile devices and the firm logs over 6 million rides per day.
Earlier this year, Uber exchanged its Southeast Asian operations for 27.5 percent of Singapore-headquartered grab, ending a battle between the two for regional dominance.
Southeast Asia, home to about 640 million people, is a major arena for tech firms offering services from digital payments and ride-hailing to e-commerce.
Last month, Indonesian ride-hailing and online payment firm Go-Jek said it would enter Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore and the Philippines in the next few months, investing $ 500 million in its international push.
Reporting by Aradhana Aravindan in SINGAPORE and Naomi Tajitsu in TOKYO; Editing by Himani Sarkar and Christopher Cushing
TAIPEI (Reuters) – Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (2330.TW), the world’s largest contract chipmaker, is planning a T$ 400 billion ($ 13.50 billion) investment to expand its research and development capacity for future technologies, a company spokeswoman said on Friday.
The initial planned investment is a “ballpark figure” and is for several years down the line, Elizabeth Sun told Reuters in a phone call.
The proposed investment is subject to the government’s ability to procure and integrate more land into the Hsinchu science park in Taiwan, which is currently full, as well as to environmental assessments, Sun added.
Hsinchu serves as the company’s headquarters, a major production facility, and its research and development center, which focuses on future chip technology.
“This piece of land, if we’re able to acquire it, it would be for all the future R&D activities,” Sun said. “Right now we’re already doing 5 nanonmeter R&D. In the future, it’ll be 3 nm and beyond.”
Earlier this month, TSMC revised its full-year revenue target to the low end of its earlier forecast due to softer demand for smartphones and uncertainty in cryptocurrency mining market.
At the same time, it said it expects high-performance computing chips to make up a greater share of the company’s growth over the next five years. The chips are used in such quick-growing fields as artificial intelligence, cryptocurrency mining and blockchain.
($ 1 = 29.6380 Taiwan dollars)
Reporting by Jess Macy Yu; Editing by Kim Coghill
HONG KONG (Reuters) – Tencent Holdings Ltd is leading a deal to invest 10 billion yuan ($ 1.59 billion) in Chinese menswear group Heilan Home Co Ltd, upping a retail rivalry with fellow internet giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, sources with knowledge of the matter said.
China’s second-largest e-commerce company JD.com Inc and online clothing platform Vipshop Holdings Ltd will also be among the group that plans to acquire less than 10 percent of the company for 5 billion yuan, one source said.
Another 5 billion yuan would help set up an industrial investment fund to focus on deals that fit with Heilan’s business, the person said, requesting anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.
Heilan had a market value of about $ 8.13 billion as of Monday, when it halted shares from trading, pending deal announcements.
Tencent, JD.com and Vipshop declined to comment. A Heilan spokesman was not immediately available to comment.
The proposed deal, which could be announced as early as Friday, extends a recent push by Tencent, China’s biggest social network and gaming company, into bricks-and-mortar retail to further compete with Alibaba.
Heilan which has clothing brands such as HLA and SANCANAL, has been a long-time partner of Alibaba’s online marketplace Tmall.
But last month Tencent, which has a market capitalization of $ 563 billion, said it would invest 4.2 billion yuan for a stake in Yonghui Superstores. It is also looking to take a stake in the China business of French supermarket retailer Carrefour.
The recent moves reflect a wider, long-running stand-off between Tencent and Alibaba, which have made competing investments in areas as diverse as bike-sharing apps, food delivery and gaming.
JD.com, in which Tencent is a top-10 investor, traditionally leads against Alibaba in online retail sales of electronics and home appliance products, but lags behind in the fashion business.
Tencent and JD.com last month jointly made an $ 863 million investment in Vipshop, in a bid to tap the country’s young female shoppers and gain access to consumer and transaction data to help them compete with Alibaba’s online payment platform Alipay.
Jiangsu-based Heilan was set up by Zhou Jianping, one of the richest people in China’s fashion industry, in 1997. It runs more than 5,000 stores, mostly in China, and recorded 12.5 billion yuan in operating income in the first three quarters last year, its website showed.
Reporting by Julie Zhu; Editing by Stephen Coates