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Investment Banking Essentials: February 21

Google to expand Portugal office; Tele2 selling stake in Kazakhstan JV

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* Google LLC is set to almost double the office space in its global operations center for suppliers at Lagoas Park in Oeiras, Portugal, Telecompaper reports, citing Expresso. The Alphabet Inc. unit reportedly plans to hire an additional 800 employees for the facility.

* Swedish telecom operator Tele2 AB said it is exercising an option to sell its stake in its joint venture in Kazakhstan to its venture partner, fixed-line operator Kazakhtelecom, for an undisclosed sum. The transaction, which is expected to be completed in about six months, has secured clearance from Kazakhstan's antitrust regulator.

* The rotating chairman of embattled telecom equipment giant Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. said the company is prepared to prove itself by producing industry-leading products in the face of backlash from western countries concerned about the security of Chinese-made equipment. "Huawei has never and will never present a security threat," Chairman Guo Ping wrote in a blog post.


* Reforms to the European Union's Anti-Tax Avoidance Directive, which seeks to eliminate the corporate tax avoidance practices of large multinational companies, are taking effect on Jan. 1, 2019, the European Commission said. The revamped rules will enable EU member states to tax profits moved to low-tax countries, while also prohibiting companies from paying excessive interests to lower their taxes. U.S. tech giants, among others, are expected to be hit by the new rules.


* Susanna Dinnage is pulling out of her upcoming role as the new CEO of the Premier League, despite a commitment struck in November, according to a statement. The nominations committee formed to look for the league's new chief executive has initiated a new search and is talking to candidates.

* The British Broadcasting Corp. has urged Russian officials to investigate the publication of personal data of 44 of its journalists on social network VKontakte Ltd., London's The Guardian reports. The online posting of the data was an apparent retaliation to The Sunday Times' publication of personal details of eight Edinburgh-based reporters for news agency Sputnik, according to the report.

* British entertainment retailer HMV Retail Ltd. has entered into administration for the second time in six years, according to company owner Hilco Capital Ltd. Weak sales during the Christmas season and a deteriorating local market for CDs and DVDs were cited as bases for the move.


* The German subsidiaries of Huawei and ZTE Corp. may be forced to withdraw the sale of their devices in the country, following an injunction issued by the district court of Düsseldorf, Telecompaper reports. The court ruled that their devices infringe on patents for the AVC/H.264 video compression standard.

* Telefónica SA unit Telefónica Deutschland Holding AG has launched a lawsuit against the conditions to award 5G mobile frequencies that it considers unclear and potentially limiting for investments, Handelsblatt reports.


* Belgian company Nethys is exiting its stake in the Nice-Matin newspaper and is looking for a buyer, Les Echos reports. Nethys was supposed to increase its holding in Nice-Matin to 51% from 34% by Dec. 31.

* After the reallocation of frequencies in the 900 MHz, 1800 MHz and 2.1 GHz bands and a public consultation conducted from Nov. 15 to Dec. 4, the French government published a supplementary list of 115 new areas to be covered under the targeted coverage plan, Univers Freebox reports. This is part of an agreement with operators in January to complete the 4G rollout and eliminate "white zones" in the country.


* The Belgian municipality of Etterbeek, which is part of the city of Brussels, has sold its cable network to operator Telenet following an invitation to tender. The deal provides the Liberty Global PLC unit with end-to-end control over the network's quality.

* David Vink will temporarily take over the management of media company NH Media and regional broadcaster AT5, Villamedia reports. Vink is taking over from CEO Paul van Gessel, who left his position earlier in December.

* The Dutch Radio Communications Agency has taken down several illegal radio stations over the weekend, following several ether pirates being active over the Christmas period, MediaMagazine reports. One of the stations taken down is Eindejaarsteam, which is based in the town of Geesbrug.


* Subscribers of TELE Greenland A/S may experience intermittent or no internet connectivity for up to several weeks, in line with ongoing repairs to a broken submarine cable to Iceland, Telecompaper reports, citing a statement.


* Huawei is expected to open a flagship store in the Spanish capital city of Madrid by mid-2019, Telecompaper reports, citing Cinco Días.

* Portuguese sports broadcaster Sport TV is facing a class-action lawsuit over claims that it overcharged customers for its services from 2005 and 2011, Telecompaper reports, citing Publico. The Competition Observatory, which filed the case, claimed that Sport TV is abusing its dominant market position on the broadcast of soccer matches.


* U.S. satellite startup OneWeb LLC has denied reports it has offered to sell a stake in the company to the Russian government. The country's communications minister also said it has not talked with OneWeb about such a deal, Reuters reports, citing news agency TASS.

* Russian operator MegaFon is selling its stake in Forpost, a holding company for IT systems integrator Talmer, to local businessman Anton Cherepennikov, Telecompaper reports. Details of the transaction were not disclosed in the report.

* Investment fund Pinebridge and other minority investors sold their 65% stake in Romanian cable operator Akta to Clever Media for an undisclosed price, Telecompaper reports, citing Ziarul Financiar. Clever Media is under the Look TV group of companies controlled by local businessman Adrian Tomsa.

* Ukrainian cable operator Volia has struck a deal to carry all 22 channels included in the distribution portfolio of 1+1 Media Group beginning in 2019, Broadband TV News reports. Under the agreement, Volia will also be able to broadcast premium content from 1+1 Media on the former's video-on-demand service.


Global Multichannel: Eastern Europe TV Everywhere overview: All the major pay TV operators in the Eastern Europe region have deployed TVE services. Cooperation with online video services and borderless access across EU member states is giving momentum to TVE initiatives.

Global Multichannel: Iceland: Pay TV market overview: Fueled by demand for premium content, the Nordic multichannel TV subscriber market of Iceland has grown by 33.3% between 2013 and 2017, with pay TV penetration of TV households approaching saturation at 84.1% as of year-end 2017.

Anne Freier, Sylvia Edwards Davis and Charlotte van Hek contributed to this report.

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