French property group Unibail-Rodamco is buying the owner of Westfield shopping centres for $24.6bn (£18.5bn). Westfield Corporation has 35 shopping centres in the UK and US while Unibail-Rodamco has 71 sites across Europe. The deal creates a global property leader with $72.2bn (£53.8bn) of Gross Market Value (GMV) spread across over 100 assets in 13 countries. The 56 shopping destinations that Unibail owns represents 84% of its combined GMV. This news is the second major deal involving shopping centre owners to emerge in a week, following the announcement of Hammerson’s £3.4bn offer for Intu.
Thales Group and Gemalto have announced they are to merge, creating a world leader in digital security. Gemalto has accepted a cash offer of €4.8bn, which represents a premium of 57% on the company’s closing price as of 8 December, just days after rejecting a €4.3bn offer from Atos. Thales will combine its digital assets with Gemalto in a new global business unit that will represent c. 20% of pro forma group revenues, amounting to €3.5bn. The deal makes Thales one of the top three players in digital security worldwide. Over the last three years Thales has invested over €1bn in connectivity, cybersecurity, data analytics and artificial intelligence, particularly in the acquisitions of Sysgo, Vormetric and Guavus. This deal sees another 15,000 employees welcomed to the group’s ranks, with no plans for redundancies. Gemalto CEO Philippe Vallée will lead the new business unit.
Thales Group has acquired Cambridge-based startup Aveillant, a pioneer in holographic radar technology. Holographic radars provide an alternative in the air surveillance market by establishing a complete picture of total air space volume. This technology can be used to allow drones to detect, track and classify very small, moving targets such as UAVs.
The Handmade Meringue Company (HMC) has been taken over by confectionery manufacturer Aldomak for an undisclosed sum. Having already been a manufacturer for HMC, Aldomak expects to improve its margins with this deal.
Walt Disney has confirmed that it is buying 21st Century Fox’s entertainment assets for $52.4bn (£39bn). The deal gives Disney control of numerous popular entertainment properties including X-Men, Avatar and The Simpsons, as well as several subsidiaries including FX Networks, National Geographic Partners, Fox Sports Regional Networks, Star India and Fox’s interests in Hulu, Sky plc, Tata Sky and Endemol Shine Group. Fox will spin off Fox Broadcasting network and stations, Fox News, Fox Business, FS1, FS2 and Big Ten Network to its shareholders.
This deal vastly expands Disney’s international reach; Sky serves nearly 23 million households in the UK, Ireland, Germany, Austria and Italy, while Fox Networks International has a presence in 170 countries and Star India reaches 720 million viewers across the globe each month.
Fox has confirmed that it still intends to complete its full takeover of Sky after its bid was referred to the Competition and Markets Authority in September. This deal is expected to close in June 2018, whereupon it will transfer under the control of The Walt Disney Company. Current Disney CEO and chairman Robert Iger is to stay in his role until 2021.
Arthur J. Gallagher has bought internal communication and employee engagement agency Gatehouse Consulting for an undisclosed sum. The acquisition grows Gallagher’s offering and global footprint as it seeks to build a full service communication consultancy. Gatehouse joins Gallagher Communication.
US investment firm Stagwell Group has bought performance marketing agency Forward3D Group. Forward3D is based in London and runs digital marketing campaigns across search, content, display and social using industry-leading linguistics, data science and technology. The company serves an international client base, running campaigns in 50 languages across 20 search and social platforms.
Broker Network has broadened its regional footprint with the acquisition of Thompson & Richardson in Lincolnshire. Thompson & Richardson controls £27m gross written premiums (GWP) and is focused on commercial lines business. It operates from offices in Boston, Grantham, Lincoln and Sleaford and employs 75 people.
Global cloud communications provider IMImobile has bought Healthcare Communications UK. Healthcare Communications is the pioneer of SMS text appointment reminder services in the UK. It is estimated that one in 10 outpatient appointments are missed and that this costs the NHS around £750m a year. Healthcare Communications’ services are used by more than 4,000 NHS staff across 140 organisations every day. IMImobile is a cloud communications software and solutions provider that enables companies to use digital technologies to communicate and engage with their customers. Healthcare Communications will retain its name and management team following this deal.
Ireland’s largest cybersecurity firm Integrity360 has bought IT security specialist Metadigm for an undisclosed sum. Integrity360 is a rapidly growing business; in 2016 the company’s turnover increased from €24.5m to €37.5m and it announced plans to hire for 150 positions over the next two years. The Metadigm acquisition forms part of its buy and build strategy. Metadigm provides consulting, prevention, detection and remediation services to clients including the UK Government, and is expected to log a turnover of £3m for 2017.