E Boxing Day

*BP plc (BP) did a complex deal in Azerbaijan where its joint venture partner AIOC signed a preliminary contract in Baku with the state company OSCAR to develop an offshore field in the Caspian Sea which holds 3 bn BOE called Azeri-Chirag-Gunashu “super-field. BP is operator but other oil companies with a stake in this big one include Chevron and Exxon (USA), Statoil ASA (Norway), Itochu Oil & Natural Gas Coand Inpax (Japan), Videsh Ltd (India), and TPAO (Turkey).


*Mail.ru in which South African Naspers (NPSNY) holds 29% will become a joint venture partner of PJSC Megafone of Russia in Q1 which will enable a cash out by mail.ruchief Boris Dubrodeev and his partners from USM Holdings led by Alisher Usmanov of Uzbekistan. They will collect $740 mn from Megafone for combining the networks and cooperating in collection and analysis of telco data and peddling games, ceding 63.8% of the shares for a near 25% premium. Megafone has a partner from the west already,Telia of Sweden. It is unclear if NPSNY will remain a minority partner with Megafone. It already accepts being a 34% partner in Tencent (TCTZFof Hong Kong. This autumn Naspers bought a 36% stake in a new Indian travel website by cobbling together a jv ofmakemytrip with its Ibibo Group. But Russia is a tougher market. We own both NPSNY and TCTZF.

*In addition to the USA and Germany, Nokia (NOK) is also suing Apple in its Finnish homeland plus the UK, Italy, Sweden, Spain, the Netherlands, Norway, Hong Kong, and Japan over AAPL's failure to follow up on an earlier patent infringement out-of-court settlement of 2011 covering patents in a case brought in 2009. NOK says first that Apple has not renewed the contract for $720 mn signed then. Moreover, NOK having bought out Siemens from their jv last year, and France's Alcatel-Lucent and Withingsin 2016, it now owns 3 further intellectual property portfolios which it says represent euros 115 bn in R&D spending over the past two decades. These include display, user interface, connectivity, software, and video-coding tech which were not covered in 2011 and were, NOK claims, violated in all 11 countries. Apple in fact immediately cut its royalty payments after Nokia bought Withings, banning its line from the Apple Store, to target NOK. Withings makes a light-weight alternative to Apple Watch and a fitness tracker.

Apple says that by transferring its patents to patent assertion entities (PAEs or patent trolls) NOK is trying to charge outrageous license fees for essential Internet products where royalties are limited to FRAND (fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory terms.) Apple is particularly exercised about 40-odd lawsuits brought by Acacia Research which Apple says violate FRAND. However there are legal experts arguing that FRAND does not apply to the later technologies as Apple claims.

Last year NOK sold its mapping software system, HERE, to German car makers MercedesAudi, and BMW for euros 2.55 bn. Now they in turn are selling a 10% stake in here to a group comprised of NavInfo of China, our Hong Kong-based Tencent, and Singapore sovereign wealth group GIC. TCTZF is competing with google maps in this function.

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Chee Hin Teh 3 years ago Member's comment

Thanks for sharing. Merry Christmas