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LinkedIn's Irish expansion; Mediaset plan update; ruling on Belgian telcos' JV


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LinkedIn's Irish expansion; Mediaset plan update; ruling on Belgian telcos' JV


* Microsoft Corp.-owned LinkedIn Corp. signed a deal with Irish property company IPUT PLC to establish a European headquarter campus in Dublin, Ireland, The Irish Times reports. The agreement covers a pre-let of Two, Three and Four Wilton Park to LinkedIn for a 25-year lease with a term certain of 12 years.

* Mediaset SpA's intended formation of Dutch holding company MFE - MediaforEurope NV is pushing through after shareholders approved "certain specific amendments" to the plan. In a separate news release, Mediaset said Simon Fiduciaria SpA, which holds a 19.19% stake in Mediaset, was barred from joining the vote. A general meeting of Mediaset España Comunicación SA shareholders was set for Feb. 5. Mediaset shareholder Vivendi SA said it regrets the plan's approval.

* The Belgian Competition Authority put a temporary brake on the joint venture between Proximus and Orange Belgium SA for the development of a shared 5G network, Trends reports. The regulator ordered the two telcos to suspend their agreements until March 16, in order to allow telecom watchdog BIPT to conduct a further probe.


* Google LLC hired Sanj Bhayro, COO of Inc.'s operations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, London's The Daily Telegraph reports. The development came after speculations that the Alphabet Inc. unit may seek to acquire the cloud software company.


* U.S. officials will visit the U.K. on Jan. 13 in a bid to convince the country's officials not to allow the use of equipment from Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. in its future 5G networks, Reuters reports. The British government is expected to make its final decision on the matter later this month.

* Imagination Technologies Group PLC is in talks with its Chinese investors to secure new funding, as the British chip designer seeks to benefit from a new licensing deal with Apple Inc., The Daily Telegraph reports. The deal will grant Apple access to some of Imagination Technologies' intellectual property.

* The U.K. Competition and Markets Authority welcomed a decision by the Competition Appeal Tribunal, which upheld the watchdog's rejection of the merger between tech companies Tobii AB and Smartbox Assistive Technology Ltd./Sensory Software International Ltd. over antitrust concerns.

* Channel 4 (UK) is bringing prehistoric animated series "Primal" to its video-on-demand service All 4 through a partnership with Adult Swim. The second half of the series is expected to be released later in 2020.

* The U.K.'s Football Association is in talks with the BBC and British Telecom's BT Sport to televise more FA Cup games live, after gambling companies voluntarily gave up their exclusive rights to stream the games on their websites, London's The Guardian reports. The FA may also stream some of the matches on its own platforms.

* Program presenter Samira Ahmed won a dispute against the British Broadcasting Corp. over an alleged gender pay gap, BBC News reports. Ahmed claimed that the BBC underpaid her by £700,000 for hosting the audience feedback program "Newswatch," in contrast to Jeremy Vine's salary for the series "Points of View." The BBC said it will work with Ahmed "in a positive way" following the case.

* Ireland's Competition and Consumer Protection Commission nullified Daily Mail and General Trust PLC's £50 million acquisition of newspaper publisher JPIMedia Ltd., saying the deal went through before securing antitrust clearance, Dublin's The Irish Times reports.


* German media conglomerate Bertelsmann SE & Co. KGaA, through its investment fund BAI, led a $12 million funding round for Mexican digital bank startup Stori, New Business reports.

* German publisher Kieler Nachrichten GmbH plans to expand in the Hamburg news market and acquire a controlling share in Elbe Wochenblatt Verlagsgesellschaft mbH & Co., New Business reports. The publisher holds a 75.1% share in the Elbe Wochenblatt, with the remaining stake owned by Funke Mediengruppe GmbH & Co. KGaA.

* Deutsche Telekom AG and Vodafone Deutschland GmbH reported 4G/LTE coverage of more than 98% of German households, NTV reports, citing data from Germany's Federal Network Agency, or Bundesnetzagentur. Telefónica Deutschland Holding AG, meanwhile, has 84% of households under coverage.


* Technicolor SA integrated Google and Netflix Inc.'s services into its Android TV-powered set-top box Ruby, Advanced Television reports. Under the integration, Netflix content as well as Google Assistant, YouTube, Google Play Music, Google Play Movies and Google Play Store, among others, will be available on Ruby for network service providers in emerging economies.

* French railway group SNCF intends to sell activated fiber services to small regional telecom operators, Les Echos reports, citing sources. The unnamed project is reportedly causing unease among mainstream operators.

* Relaxnews press agency has left the scope of Publicis Groupe SA and swapped its model for a "newstech" named ETX Studio, Les Echos reports. The company said Jérôme Doncieux, co-founder and CEO, now owns 68.5% of the capital while Publicis remains a minority shareholder with a 12% stake.

* Challenges founder Claude Perdriel is ready to buy Renault SA's 35% stake in the press group, Les Echos reports. Renault's departure could cause the AEX project to offer content on Alliance vehicles to fall through.


* Dutch telco KPN NV will deliver gigabit internet speeds over its fiber-optic networks, beginning March 2, TotaalTV reports. The services will reportedly be available in more than 1.5 million households in parts of Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Utrecht, The Hague and Eindhoven.

* Dutch operator Delta Business will increase the price of its subscriptions by €1.24 on March 1 due to higher distribution costs that will be paid to TV channels, TotaalTV reports. As a result of the increase in the TV subscriptions, prices of the All-in-1 subscriptions will also increase by an equal amount per month.

* A ruling by the Trade and Industry Appeals Tribunal on the Wholesale Broadband Access decision by the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets, which could lead to the opening of Ziggo NV's cable network, is not expected in January, TotaalTV reports. VodafoneZiggo reportedly appealed to the tribunal against the decision.


* Telia Co. AB unit Telia Norge AS launched its new 5G network in Lillestrøm, Norway. By end-March, about 50 base stations in the Lillestrøm area will be upgraded to 5G and will be open for test use.

* Telenor Norge AS signed a deal with tech company ZAPTEC to deliver internet of things-based smart charging solutions over its 4G network. ZAPTEC delivers charging stations for electric vehicles.

* Danish TV provider YouSee A/S fixed a technical fault that made it impossible for customers to make changes to their selection of TV channels and streaming services, Berlingske Business reports. To compensate for the problems, affected customers will be able to choose extra channels for free for three months.

* Danish football league Divisionsforeningen said Nordic Entertainment Group AB increased its soccer offering on streaming service Viaplay. The streaming service will show all matches from the second-level football league in Denmark, the NordicBet League.


* Spanish operator Euskaltel SA appointed Ángel Olabuenaga as its new CFO, replacing Jon Ander de las Fuentes Inchausti who has been in the role since 2014.

* Endemol Shine Group Ltd. will pursue its plan to close down unit Endemol Shine Turkey despite an Istanbul court ruling against an insolvency filing in Turkey, TBI Vision reports. Endemol Shine Turkey's request to file for insolvency was turned down because the company has been able to pay debts and its balance sheet holds about 55 million Turkish lira.

* Portugal will conduct a 5G auction for 400 MHz of spectrum, Telecompaper reports, citing Autoridade Nacional de Comunicações President Joao Cadete do Matos' statement to Dinheiro Vivo. Matos also said they are looking into auction conditions that would encourage operators to share infrastructure or to co-invest.

* "The New Pope," a joint original series from Sky Ltd., Home Box Office Inc. and Canal Plus SA, premiered on HBO Spain on Jan. 10. FremantleMedia Group Ltd. unit Wildside SRL co-produced the series with Haut et Court TV and The Mediapro Studio.

* Atresmedia Studios and The Mediapro Studio are co-producing "El Internado: Las Cumbres," which will premiere on Inc.'s Amazon Prime Video. Film production will begin in the first quarter.


* Telekom Slovenije dd is teaming up with Discovery Inc. to bring new channels and content to subscribers, Advanced Television reports. The partnership covers Discovery's flagship channels Eurosport 4K and HGTV, as well as other channels such as Discovery Channel, Animal Planet and TLC.

* Slovenia will allocate 5G frequencies by June 30, Telecompaper reports, citing Tanja Muha, acting director of the Agency for Communication Networks and Services of the Republic of Slovenia.

* Orange Polska SA, in partnership with its unit Integrated Solutions Sp zoo, added new functions to its Integrated Computing Standard service, Telecompaper reports. Orange SA owns Orange Polska.


Conference Chatter: CES 2020: Foldable devices, the next big trend in handheld technology: Major hardware manufacturers including Intel Corp., Dell Technologies Inc. and Lenovo Group Ltd. have all jumped onto the foldable-device bandwagon, unveiling a range of new products at this year's CES.

Data Dispatch: '1917' trying to turn Golden Globes wins into box office green: Between buzz from critics and awards shows, "1917" is expected to lead the Jan. 10 weekend box office, knocking The Walt Disney Co.'s "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker" out of the No. 1 position it has held for three weeks running.


Economics of TV & Film: KBOX Week 1: New decade at the box office starts off promising: The 2020 box office year is off to a solid start with the first week's box office posting 11.5% growth compared to the first week of 2019.

Anne Freier, Sylvia Edwards Davis, Marieke Pijnappels and Esben Svendsen contributed to this report.

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