The following is excerpted from IRG's weekly stock report:
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- NTT DoCoMo Inc. (DCM) is in talks with India's Tata Group (TCL) to invest in its mobile phone business. The Tata group has been looking to sell a stake in Wireless-TT Infoservices, an unlisted company that owns 14,000 telecom towers, for the past six months to raise money for its expansion plans. The company, which was spun off from India's sixth largest telecom firm Tata Teleservices Ltd., recently acquired licenses to operate in the northern state of Jammu and Kashmir and the North East of India. DoCoMo has been adding to its overseas investments recently as it faces a saturated and competitive market in its home country. Specifically, it has been focusing on investing in Asia.
- Softbank (SFBTF.PK) will lease Apple's (AAPL) iPhone 3G to corporate clients free of charge for three months as part of efforts to attract corporate users as the initial hype surrounding the device's July release fades. Some 1,500 companies attending Softbank Summit 2008 are eligible for the free rentals, which are limited to five handsets per company. The promotion covers both the phones and the communications charges. Softbank president Masayoshi Son devoted most of his keynote address to the iPhone, giving concrete examples of how it can be used in business settings. Major apparel chains and banks are already looking at introducing the device. With the sales boom having passed, Softbank is looking to boost sales volume by cultivating demand related to business applications.
Media, Entertainment and Gaming
- Namco Bandai Holdings plans to spend about 5 billion yen (US$46.8 million) to take a 34 percent interest in the sales unit to be spun off from French game developer Atari Europe SAS (ATAR.PK), a move that will help it tap the rapidly growing European market. The Japanese game developer and Atari Europe's parent, Infogrames Entertainment SA of France, are still discussing the matter. The two sides signed a letter of intent that includes a timeline for negotiations. After conducting due diligence, the firms are to hammer out the investment amount and stake by late February.
- Shipments of cellular phone and PHS handsets by manufacturers declined 29.3 percent year-on-year to 3.8 million units in July. The fall marks the second consecutive month of declines and the steepest drop in percentage terms so far this year. The weak figures were caused partly by slow subscriber growth and by a drop in the number of people replacing their old handsets with new ones. Shipments in June rose for the first time in five months as cell phone and PHS handset makers geared up for the summer sales season. But it appears to have pushed up inventories, forcing them to scale back shipments in July.