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Apple, Ireland to appeal EU tax ruling; French Senate adopts 'YouTube tax'

TOP NEWS

* Apple Inc. will file an appeal against the European Union's order for the tech giant to pay €13 billion in back taxes to Ireland, Reuters reports. Ireland also offered new details for its planned appeal against the EU ruling, according to a separate report by The Wall Street Journal.

* The French Senate adopted the "YouTube tax," which imposes a 2% levy on advertising revenues from online video platforms, Challenges reports. The proposal now goes to a bicameral committee to resolve issues regarding enforcement, tax collection and the potential of discrimination against French-based online video publishers. YouTube is owned by Alphabet Inc. unit Google Inc.

UK AND IRELAND

* Johnston Press plc unit Johnston Publishing Ltd. is selling Johnston Publishing East Anglia Ltd. to Iliffe Media Ltd. for £17 million, according to a news release. The deal includes 13 publications and associated websites in East Anglia and the East Midlands, namely the Bury Free Press, Diss Express, Fenland Citizen, Lincolnshire Free Press, Grantham Journal, Haverhill Echo, Lynn News, Newmarket Journal, Rutland Times, Suffolk Free Press, Spalding Guardian, the Local (Bourne) and Stamford Mercury.

* Vodafone Group Plc met with European aviation safety authorities to discuss its possible entry into drone traffic management, London's Financial Times reports. Over 400,000 commercial and government unmanned aircraft are reportedly expected to be flying within European airspace by 2035.

* British telecom regulator Ofcom provided technical advice for the U.K. government on improving broadband speeds. This action follows Ofcom's findings that 1.4 million properties are unable to get broadband speeds over 10 Mbps, the ideal speed for a household.

* British Conservative MP Andrew Tyrie urged the country's intelligence agencies to step up efforts in safeguarding financial services companies from cybercrime, Reuters reports. Tyrie, who heads the House of Commons treasury committee, reportedly expressed concerns over the "opaque lines of accountability" between regulators and intelligence officials, in relation to incidents of cyberattacks affecting financial institutions.

GERMANY, SWITZERLAND AND AUSTRIA

* German hotel search platform Trivago, which is majority owned by U.S. online travel agency Expedia Inc., offered 26.1 million American depositary shares at $11 per share, raising $287 million in its initial public offering, Reuters reports. The news agency earlier reported that Trivago would likely price its shares well below the earlier indicated $13 to $15 per share.

* The Federal Constitutional Court in Germany ruled that large telecom companies will receive more protection from the law if they want to deviate from charges set by the relevant regulatory body, Handelsblatt reports. Large telecom companies need to allow competitors to use their net, and a regulatory body sets the charges for those services.

* Funke-Programmies appointed Carsten Pfefferkorn as chief editor for Funke-Zeitschriften's TV direkt and nurTV, effective at the start of 2017, replacing Katharina Lukas, according to a news release. Pfefferkorn spent 10 years as chief editor of the group's titles Gong, Bild&Funk, Super TV and Die 2.

* Digital Society, an online consumer association, plans to appeal the metadata retention regulations by the Swiss Federal Supreme Court, Telecompaper reports. The court dismissed an earlier complaint by Digital Society in November, ruling that internet service providers needed to store metadata on Swiss citizens for six months.

FRANCE

* Vivendi SA CEO Arnaud de Puyfontaine said the acquisition of a 20% stake of Mediaset SpA is not hostile, Reuters reports, citing Corriere della Sera. In a separate Reuters report, two undisclosed sources said Vivendi mandated BNP Paribas and Natixis on an €800 million raid on Mediaset.

* Orange SA announced an extension of the partnership with the Confédération Africaine de Football for a further eight years to include the 2019 tournament in Cameroon, the 2021 tournament in Ivory Coast and the 2023 tournament in Guinea.

* Orange, Altice NV's SFR Group and Bouygues Telecom wrote an open letter to the government published in Le Journal du Dimanche concerning the new digital coverage law being debated in the French parliament. The three operators call for a review of the proposed network-sharing clause that would discourage investment and give an unfair advantage to certain operators over others.

NETHERLANDS, BELGIUM AND LUXEMBOURG

* Proximus CEO Dominique Leroy presented a 10-year plan for the development of the company's fiber optic network, De Tijd reports. The plan is estimated to cost €3 billion and aims to provide at least 85% of businesses and 50% of consumers in Belgium with significantly improved internet connectivity.

* The Dutch Authority for Consumers and Markets will announce the results of its investigation on T-Mobile's data-free music service before the end of the year, Tweakers reports. The ACM earlier said that it suspected the service to be noncompliant with the Dutch law on net neutrality.

* T-Mobile Nederland extended its data-free music service which was launched in October, iCulture reports. In spite of ACM's ongoing investigation on the service, T-Mobile is adding 10 Dutch radio stations to the service.

* Dutch intelligence service AIVD is attempting to circumvent encryption of messaging applications such as WhatsApp Inc. and Telegram, NOS reports. National Coordinator for Security and Counterterrorism Dick Schoof said the decryption is needed in the battle against terrorism.

NORDIC COUNTRIES

* Modern Times Group AB concluded the sale of its free-TV broadcasting and production businesses in Ghana and Nigeria to Econet Media Group for an undisclosed sum. Meanwhile, the previously announced sale of MTG's free-TV broadcasting business in Tanzania to Econet is pending local regulatory approval.

* A consortium headed by U.S. investment firm General Atlantic Inc. bought a majority shareholding in Hemnet AB for about 2 billion Swedish kronor, Dagens Industri reports. Hemnet is a Swedish online real estate classified ads platform.

* Nokia Corp. and PLDT Inc. unit Smart Communications in the Philippines achieved 5G speeds of 2.5 Gbps using 100 MHz with low latency of 1 millisecond, demonstrating 5G-ready capabilities for Internet of Things applications. Both companies will partner on conducting joint research to develop 5G technology.

* Ericsson AB is being charged with corruption over a broadband contract it won from the city of Johannesburg, South Africa, in 2010, Svenska Dagbladet reports, citing South African media. The Swedish company reportedly transferred the contract to a new company named Interconnect Communications, in order to sell network capacity without the knowledge of local authorities.

* Tele2 AB and Telenor ASA will build a common network in Sweden using 5G technology, Tele2 said in a statement. The main goal is to offer customers access to 5G with full functionality by 2020.

* Eye-tracking features developed by Swedish technology firm Tobii AB have been integrated into Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd.'s Honor Magic smartphone, Di Digital reports. The Honor Magic will be launched exclusively in the Chinese market after Dec. 23.

* The Swedish government's new three-stage national broadband strategy aims to connect the whole country by 2025, Dagens Industri reports. The strategy aims to provide more equal broadband coverage to all areas, both urban and rural.

SOUTHERN EUROPE

* Italian Industry Minister Carlo Calenda expressed disapproval over Vivendi's "hostile stake-building" in Mediaset, Reuters reports. With this ongoing tension between the companies, Italian regulator AgCom intends to look into a possible breach of rules in terms of ownership of communication and media companies, considering that the French media giant is a controlling stakeholder of Telecom Italia SpA, Digital TV Europe reports.

* Amazon.com Inc.'s Amazon Italia will pump €65 million for a new distribution center in the Italian town of Vercelli, located in the Piedmont region, Telecompaper reports, citing a company statement. About 600 new staff will be hired within three years as soon as the 100,000-square-meter facility opens in fall 2017.

* Telecom Italia intends to produce premium content for broadband and to spin off the activities of TIMvision into a new company, according to a news release. The strategy is anticipated to help increase fiber consumption by widening IPTV offerings.

* Vodafone Italia will add Sky Italia SRL's Now TV content into the upcoming Vodafone TV service, Telecompaper reports. Sky Italia is a unit of Sky plc.

EASTERN EUROPE

* The Russian Orthodox Church increased its 51% stake in religious channel Spas to 100% after the exit of several minority shareholders such as Gennady Lysak, one of the channel's founders, Broadband TV News reports, citing Kommersant. The church will also reportedly move to change the channel's license in order to accommodate advertising.

* Trace Group's network Trace Urban launched in United Group's Total TV, making the channel available in Serbia, Slovenia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina, Broadband TV News reports. Trace Group is a unit of Modern Times Group.

* Bosnia and Herzegovina's public broadcaster BHRT can no longer have access to the European Broadcasting Union's services such as news and music exchanges, as well as access to sports rights, according to a news release. This comes following a sanction placed on the independent broadcaster due to mounting debts.

* Romanian communications watchdog ANCOM launched its fourth digital terrestrial television multiplex tender, which includes two national, 26 regional and 18 local multiplexes from previous proceedings, Broadband TV News reports. ANCOM will reportedly prohibit companies within the same group from joining the tender.

FEATURED NEWS

The Daily Dose Asia-Pacific: SoftBank invests in satellite startup; Thailand tightens cybercrime law: The Japanese tech giant will invest US$848 million in OneWeb, a U.S. satellite startup that plans to launch a global telecom network, while lawmakers in Thailand approved an amended cybercrime law that has raised privacy and rights concerns.

FEATURED RESEARCH

Global Multichannel: Fox looking to consolidate global TV, film assets with bid for Sky: 21st Century Fox has wanted to take control of Sky for years, and it appears the timing is right as the pound has become extremely weak against the dollar in the wake of the Brexit.

Phoebe Magdirila, Sylvia Edwards Davis, 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.