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Vivendi lifts Mediaset stake further; Telenet buying SFR BeLux

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Vivendi lifts Mediaset stake further; Telenet buying SFR BeLux

TOP NEWS

* Vivendi SA announced that as of Dec. 22, it owns 28.80% of the Mediaset SpA share capital and 29.94% of the voting rights. On Dec. 13, Vivendi crossed the 3% threshold.

* Liberty Global plc unit Telenet is acquiring Coditel Brabant SPRL, Altice NV's Belgium and Luxembourg businesses operating under the SFR brand, for €400 million on a cash and debt-free basis, the companies said. Under terms of the deal, Telenet unit Telenet Group BVBA will acquire Coditel Brabant, also dubbed SFR BeLux, from Altice unit Coditel Holding SA.

PAN-EUROPEAN

* Verizon Communications Inc. won approval from the European Commission for its deal to acquire Yahoo! Inc., according to a post by the commission. While approving the deal, the EC said the proposed transaction "would not raise any competition concerns given the companies' moderate market positions, the limited increments brought by the proposed transaction and the presence of a number of strong players providing such services."

UK AND IRELAND

* Virgin Media Inc. CEO Tom Mockridge criticized the British government's £440 million broadband boost to the country's remote areas, which resulted from increasing demand for superfast broadband in said areas, City A.M. reports. Mockridge reportedly said the rebates from British Telecom are at odds with Ofcom's plan to split BT from its infrastructure unit Openreach. Liberty Global owns Virgin Media.

* Virgin Media-owned TV3 snagged Irish rights to the Cheltenham, Aintree, Epsom and Royal Ascot British horse racing events, following a four-year deal with Racecourse Media Group, The Irish Times reports. Commencing from 2017, TV3 will broadcast up to 50 days of live racing events on its main channel and on 3e.

* UTV Ireland news editor Mick McCaffrey will immediately assume his new role as head of TV3's news service 3 News Ireland, following the departure of TV3 director of news Andrew Hanlon and the completion of Virgin Media's acquisition of UTV Ireland. According to The Irish Times, 3 News Ireland will provide news content to TV3, e3 and UTV Ireland, which will be rebranded Be3 beginning in 2017.

GERMANY, SWITZERLAND AND AUSTRIA

* Constantin Medien appointed Peter Braunhofer as CFO, succeeding Leif Arne Anders, who will leave the German media group for health reasons. Braunhofer joined Constantin Medien in 2007 and in 2013 became responsible for accounting, corporate finance and investor relations.

* German business newspaper Handelsblatt appointed its current desk head for finance, Martin Dowideit, as head of digital starting in January 2017. Dowideit, who joined in 2012, will be responsible for the development of paid content, new pay models and the digital pass as well as video offerings and social media presence.

* Axel Springer SE is taking the relaunched magazine Allegra off the German market after six issues, according to a press release. The media group conceded that the magazine, which was successful among women in the 1990s, had not been economically viable after it was relaunched in 2016.

* The investor protection lawsuit against Deutsche Telekom AG is being tried again in the Federal Supreme Court in Karlsruhe, Germany, after plaintiffs' lawyer Andreas Tilp objected to an earlier model case ruling, dpa reports. Some 16,000 investors are demanding compensation of €80 million for share price losses after they bought Deutsche Telekom shares.

* Video-on-demand provider Maxdome, part of ProSiebenSat.1 Media SE, signed a deal with 21st Century Fox Inc.'s Twentieth Century Fox Television Distribution, Infosat reports. The agreement comprises 70 Hollywood movies, including "Titanic," "Avatar" and "Independence Day," that will be distributed by Maxdome.

FRANCE

* By the first quarter of 2017, more than 3,600 housing units and business premises in Evreux will be eligible for fiber, according to SFR. By 2020, it expects 42,000 housing units in the region to have the capacity to be connected to the fiber network.

* As part of L'année France-Colombie 2017, France 24 signed an agreement with Latin American pay TV operator Claro to distribute French content on Televisión Digital Avanzada, Satellifax reports. France 24 is also expected to launch a Spanish-language news channel in September 2017, with copywriting and technical services located in Bogota, Colombia.

NETHERLANDS, BELGIUM AND LUXEMBOURG

* The number of personal data requests that the Dutch government filed at Facebook Inc. almost tripled in the first six months of 2016, Nu.nl reports. A total of 450 inquiries were made in which data from 750 accounts was requested.

* The Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs published new regulations on router choice by consumers, Telecompaper reports. The document, which states that consumer choice of routers may not be limited by telecom providers, should reportedly make the market for telecommunication devices more competitive.

* RTL Group's RTL Nederland will terminate its teletext service RTL Text as of April 1, 2017, RTL Nieuws reports. According to the channel, RTL Text no longer has added value in a landscape of news websites and social media.

NORDIC COUNTRIES

* Nokia Corp. announced that it expanded patent litigation against Apple Inc. in Asia, Europe and the U.S. Nokia filed additional complaints alleging that Apple products infringe on Nokia patents. Nokia has actions in 11 countries involving 40 patents covering display, user interface, software, antenna and video-coding technologies. The company's shares dropped 4.9% on the Stockholm Stock Exchange following news of its legal actions, Göteborgs Posten reports.

* Telenor ASA denied that the resignation of Vivek Sood was linked to historic problems relating to Grameenphone, its joint venture telco in Bangladesh, Dagens Næringsliv reports. Sood is a former CEO of Grameenphone. Telenor said he resigned as vice president and group chief marketing officer to accept a position outside the company.

* Nokia announced it is partnering with Vodafone Group Plc and Telit to expand the Internet of Things ecosystem using Narrowband-IoT technology. Nokia has deployed a fully integrated NB-IoT system at Vodafone's Open Lab in Dusseldorf. The system uses Nokia's radio access network and elements from its Cloud Packet Core solution.

* A two-day strike by at least 600 customer center IT workers employed by Barona Customer Care Oy and ManpowerGroup Oy is affecting the customer service operations of Telia Co. AB unit Sonera Tele Finland Oy, Helsingin Sanomat reports. The strike, due to end at midnight on Dec. 23, relates to workers' fears about wage cuts and poor contract terms.

SOUTHERN EUROPE

* Vivendi's move to further raise its stake in Mediaset sparked anger from the Italian government, Reuters reports. Italian Industry Minister Carlo Calenda said the government remains unhappy with the French media group's stake-building, although this does not mean the government will try to block the move through any ad hoc measures.

* Italian operator Go Internet and Enel SpA's Enel Open Fiber struck a 15-year deal to provide fiber-to-the-home services across the country, Telecompaper reports. The two companies signed an initial agreement in July.

* Neither Telefónica S.A., Vodafone Group Plc's Vodafone España S.A.U. nor Orange SA unit Orange España participated in the tender for the maintenance of Spain's public payphone system, Telecompaper reports, citing El País. The contract would supposedly last five years.

* OTE, doing business as Cosmote SA, launched a rural broadband program that aims to bring services to 2,247 remote locations in "white areas" across Greece, Telecompaper reports. The Greek operator invested €113 million on the initiative.

EASTERN EUROPE

* A Moscow court approved the Federal Antimonopoly Service's decision to impose a fine of 500,000 Russian rubles on Google Inc., Telecompaper reports. The fine follows Google's failure to comply with an FAS requirement after the regulator found the Alphabet Inc. unit to have violated antitrust laws when it banned other apps from being installed on Android devices sold in Russia.

* Poland's TVN SA sold broadcast rights for selected programs shown on three thematic channels from nc+, Telecompaper reports, citing Media2.pl. The shows will be aired in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and four other countries. Scripps Networks Interactive Inc. owns TVN.

* Moldcell enhanced its online TV and cinema service Moldcell TV by adding access to 70 TV channels, Telecompaper reports. The Moldavian operator's service used to include only a library of movies and online TV series.

The Daily Dose will not appear Dec. 26 and 27 due to the observed holidays for Christmas and Boxing Day in London. The next Dose will be sent out Dec. 28. Please visit our website for the latest news updates, or check us out at www.twitter.com/SNLKagan.

FEATURED NEWS

Q&A: Cybersecurity exec: Most attacks are never reported to the public: Following a range of high-profile hacking and data breach cases, S&P Global Market Intelligence spoke to Ian Mann, CEO of cybersecurity company ECSC Group.

Hires and Fires: US Media & Comm management moves through Dec. 21: Time Inc., Twitter, Viacom: S&P Global Market Intelligence presents a weekly rundown of executive changes in the media and communications industries.

CAPITAL Letters: Music streaming is booming without boomers: Awareness could help bridge the boomer gap between music consumers and providers.

FEATURED RESEARCH

Consumer Insights: Fall 2016 US survey summary report highlights growth in online video subscriptions, smart TVs: Results from the Consumer Insights third-quarter U.S. survey found a substantial increase in the use of smart TVs/4K TVs to access online digital entertainment directly from the device.

Technology: As video resolution increases, compression and video optimization bring down bandwidth requirements: As the march to higher resolution video continues and with greater amounts of Ultra HD and 360-degree video for virtual reality being produced, network bandwidth requirements to deliver video increase as well.

Amanda Kelly, Stefanie Eschenbacher, Koen Pijnappels and Gerard O'Dwyer contributed to this report. The Daily Dose has an editorial deadline of 7 a.m. London time. Some external links may require a subscription.