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Apax Partners, others to buy Inmarsat for $3.4B; MTG's NOVA sale gets approval


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Apax Partners, others to buy Inmarsat for $3.4B; MTG's NOVA sale gets approval


* Triton Bidco, a new joint venture formed by a consortium that includes private equity firms Apax Partners LLP and Warburg Pincus International LLC, will acquire British satellite operator Inmarsat PLC for about $3.4 billion, according to an official release. The deal, which will be covered by a court-sanctioned scheme of arrangement, is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter, subject to regulatory approvals.

* Modern Times Group said it has received regulatory approval to sell its 95% stake in Bulgarian company NOVA Broadcasting Group AD to Advance Media Group. The transaction is expected to close in April.


* The European Commission has decided to ignore U.S. calls to ban Chinese telecom giant Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. and will ask member countries to share more data to tackle cybersecurity risks related to 5G networks, Reuters reports. The European Commissioner for Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip will present a recommendation March 26, which calls for information exchange and coordination for the assessment of security risks for internet-connected devices and 5G equipment.

* Naspers Ltd. Ltd. is spinning off its internet assets outside South Africa into a new global consumer internet group, according to a regulatory notice. The entity, which will be 75%-owned by Naspers and a free float of about 25%, will be listed on Euronext Amsterdam. The spinoff is expected to completed in the second half of 2019.

* Media supply chain company OwnZones Media Network Inc. has appointed Robert Cloudt chief commercial officer. Cloudt will be in charge of business development and sales in Europe, Middle East and Africa, as well as the Asia-Pacific and China markets, effective April 1, Rapid TV News reports. Cloudt will also be responsible for setting up the company's Amsterdam office.


* The British Broadcasting Corp. Director General Tony Hall's plan to meet Huawei executives have stirred concerns among staff of BBC News over potential conflict of interest in news reporting, London's The Guardian reports. Hall is set to meet Huawei's executives at the Chinese's company's Shenzhen headquarters, according to a spokesman for the British broadcaster.

* Facebook Inc.'s employees have flagged London-based Cambridge Analytica Ltd.'s data-scraping activities months earlier than the social media company's stated knowledge of the activity, Techcrunch reports, citing a redacted U.S. court filing. In response, a Facebook spokesperson said that the company first learned about the now-defunct Cambridge Analytica's data transfer activities in December 2015 through media reports and employees merely heard speculation months earlier.

* Former ITV Studios Ltd. Sarah-Jane Cohen has been appointed ITN Productions' London-based executive producer, TBI Vision reports. Cohen will work closely with ITN's Ian Russell, head of international programs, and Denise Castelli, who serves as a development executive.

* British Telecom said it has licensed its cybersecurity visual analytics technology, called SATURN, to analytics and artificial intelligence company Qio Technologies Ltd. SATURN will be used into QiO's IIoT Foresight Platform to analyze real-time data from machinery and sensors.

* Openreach Ltd. has launched a consultation with broadband and telephone service providers on ways to upgrade service for consumer and business internet users through full-fiber broadband connections, Advanced Television reports. The company has also opened a consultation to discontinueanaloge services, which uses copper wires, by 2025.


* Germany's Federal Network Agency has received about €662 million in bids for 5G frequencies as of March 24, Handelsblatt reports. The German regulator began its auction of 41 blocks of spectrum in the 2 GHz and 3.6 GHz bands March 19.

* M7 Group SA unit M7 Deutschland will continue providing IPTV services across the network of fiber operator Deutsche Glasfaser, following the extension of an existing partnership between the companies, Digital TV Europe reports.

* German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier is pushing for the creation of an artificial intelligence company in Europe that could cope up with rivals worldwide, Reuters reports, citing Tagesspiegel. Altmaier noted that efforts by German carmakers in areas such as autonomous driving are "not enough," according to the report.

* Discovery Inc. confirmed to DWDL that it would be launching its Home & Garden TV channel in Germany by June.

* Germany's press agency Deutsche Presse Agentur has supported a Europe-wide call for copyright reforms. A total of 260 publishers, news agencies and radio broadcasters in the country signed the initiative to demand fair participation in the content business following an announcement by the European Union to change copyright laws for the digital age.


* Following its announcement to invest €100 million over five years in content, Orange SA's Orange Studio and OCS are developing four new originals composed of three French and one international content. The upcoming originals will be distributed to OCS subscribers in 2020, according to a news release.

* BlackRock Inc. said it entered into an exclusive agreement to acquire all of the equity interests in Paris-based eFront SA from private equity firm Bridgepoint Advisers Ltd. and eFront employees for $1.3 billion in cash. BlackRock plans to combine eFront with its investment operating platform Aladdin.


* Dutch regulator Authority for Consumers and Markets has stated that operator VodafoneZiggo must publish the full rates it has set for competitors to use the provider's network by March 31, or face fines of €100,000 per day. According to ACM, VodafoneZiggo is violating a regulation from the Wholesale Fixed Access decision, which states that the operator should open up its network to third parties and publish its full offer to use those services.

* Former Liberty Global PLC executive Enrique Rodriguez has been appointed director at Belgian operator Telenet, replacing Diederik Karsten, who resigned voluntarily Feb. 15.

* The U.S. government is increasing diplomatic pressure on the Dutch government to exclude Huawei from the new generation of telecom networks, says State Secretary Mona Keijzer in an interview with NRC. According to Keijzer, the U.S. government is heavily lobbying Dutch policy-makers to ban Huawei.

* Belgian publishing house MEDIALAAN NV/De Persgroep Publishing NV has appointed Robin Vissenaekens news program director of radio, reports RadioVisie. Vissenaekens will replace Iwan Reuvekamp.


* Nokia Corp. revealed in its annual report that it is looking into certain transactions of its former Alcatel-Lucent business, but added that it does not expect to have a material impact on the company. The news follows the Finnish Data Inspectorate's investigation into an incident involving the sending of sensitive information from Norwegian Nokia 7 Plus smartphones to a server in China.

* Ericsson said that it is teaming up with SK Telecom Co. Ltd. to develop next-generation 5G standalone core networks technology, architecture, implementation and operations. The companies signed a three-year memorandum of understanding, focused on cloud native micro-services-based principles.

* Norwegian energy group Lyse AS said its subsidiary Viken Fiber AS is merging with competitor Fiber1 As. The new company, which is to operate under the Viken Fiber brand, will have about 170,000 active broadband customers in 70 municipalities in eastern Norway.


* Cellnex Telecom SA is eyeing the purchase of a 60% stake in French company TDF Infraestructure for about €3 billion, Advance Television reports. TDF's towers portfolio includes 13,900 sites. The news follows the completion of the Spanish towers operator's €1.2 billion share capital increase, the proceeds of which will be used to further grow the business through acquisitions. The 66.99 million new shares issued under the capital increase are expected to begin trading March 27.

* Vodafone España SAU is adding over-the-top service National Geographic+ to its Television Esencial package, following an agreement with Fox Corp., Advanced Television reports. Vodafone Group PLC owns Vodafone España.

* Telefónica SA's O2 in Spain is set to charge a common rate of €50 per month for its new 300 Mbps fiber-and-mobile service in all parts of the country, Telecompaper reports, citing Xataka Movil. The offering's price used to be €58 monthly in Spain's "non-competitive" areas defined by telecom regulator Comisión Nacional de los Mercados y la Competencia and €45 a month for the defined "competitive" areas.


* Czech Republic search engine company as wants Google LLC to reveal more details about its plan to open up Android smartphones to rival search apps, Reuters reports.'s complaint with lobbying group FairSearch triggered the European Commission's probe into the Android operating system that led to the Alphabet Inc. unit being fined €4.34 billion in 2018.

* The Russian government scrapped plans to create a state-owned satellite operator that will cater to homes without digital terrestrial TV services, Broadband TV News reports, citing TelecomDaily. Russia's satellite TV industry would have been hurt by the planned operator that would broadcast unencrypted direct-to-home signals nationwide.

* Telewizja Polska SA is preparing the launch of the TVP Wilno channel, which targets ethnic Poles in Lithuania, Broadband TV News reports, citing a statement. The channel's launch is covered by a deal with Poland's foreign ministry.

* An industry group composed of Rostelecom PJSC, Mobile TeleSystems PJSC, ER-Telecom and MTT warned against government plans to ringfence Russia's domestic internet service from the web, saying this could block the development of services for the internet of things, Telecompaper reports, citing Kommersant.


Netflix show creator's £500M UK studio project seeks big investors: Steven Knight, creator and writer of crime drama "Peaky Blinders," is working to bring his vision for a studio-focused mixed-use development in Birmingham, U.K., to fruition.

The Best Of: Media & Comm, editor's picks: future of VR; DIRECTV-Viacom carriage dispute: Stories about the future of virtual reality and the DIRECTV-Viacom carriage dispute are among the editor's top story picks for the week ended March 22.


Economics of TV & Film: KBOX week 11: 'Captain Marvel' soars in its second week: The domestic box office enjoyed a second week of growth on the shoulders of "Captain Marvel." Total week 11 box office rose 9.7% from $189.2 million in 2018 to $207.5 million in 2019.

Anne Freier, Amanda Kelly, Charlotte van Hek and Esben Svendsen contributed to this report.

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