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EC approves Tele2, Com Hem merger; Google to appeal against EC's €4.34B fine


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EC approves Tele2, Com Hem merger; Google to appeal against EC's €4.34B fine


* The European Commission has unconditionally approved the merger of Swedish telecom operator Tele2 AB and cable player Com Hem. The deal is expected to close Nov. 5 when the Swedish Companies Registration Office registers the merger and Com Hem is dissolved.

* Google LLC is preparing to appeal against the about €4.34 billion fine it received for antitrust breaches related to its Android mobile operating system, London's Financial Times reports. The company has until Oct. 10 to submit the appeal to the European Court of Justice.

* The U.K. High Court blocked legal action against Alphabet Inc. over claims it illegally collected and used the internet browsing data of 4.4 million iPhone users in England and Wales between June 2011 and February 2012. The case, brought by campaign group Google You Owe Us, argues that Google was in breach of U.K. data protection laws and hoped to win compensation worth between £1 billion and £3 billion.


* Google is rolling out its Safety Center in Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and the U.K. The company intends to make the portal, which provides tools and information on online security, available in more languages and countries in the coming months.

* In another news, Google is said to have reached out to advertising agencies to convince them to create a comparison shopping site and offered retailers a monthly rebate of £32,000, Sky News reports. The move reportedly came after the company entertained bids from rivals for advertising slots on Google Shopping to comply with a European Commission ruling. However take-up was poor, the report said, citing sources.

* The Czech Republic has joined Ireland, Finland and Sweden in opposing the European Union's proposal to tax internet companies operating in the bloc, Reuters reports, citing a joint paper. The countries warned that such taxation may not be in line with international treaties.


* Comcast Corp. closed the issuance and sale of a $27 billion offering of floating-rate notes and fixed-rate notes to finance its acquisition of Sky PLC, according to a filing.

* Facebook Inc. has only paid £7.4 million, or less than 1% of its total sales in the U.K. in 2017 after it claimed about £8.4 million in tax credits from providing its employees shares in the company, London's The Guardian reports. The social media company's sales in the U.K. for the previous year totaled about £1.3 billion.


* Deutsche Telekom AG and Telefónica Deutschland Holding AG have announced a partnership to join roughly 5,000 of the Telefónica SA unit's mobile base stations with Deutsche Telekom's fiber-optic network.

* Deutsche Telekom has claimed a first in Europe for a pilot project that uses artificial intelligence in the planning stage of its rollout of fiber-to-the home services. The pilot in Bornheim involved the deployment of a measuring vehicle to collect detailed environmental data with the help of GPS technology.

* Germany's Bundesverband Filmschnitt Editor has come to an agreement with ProSiebenSat.1 Media SE's Prosiebensat.1 Tv Deutschland Gmbh on common remuneration rules for film editors.


* Banijay Group SAS has acquired a majority stake in Terence Films, Variety reports. Terence Films founders Stephane Meunier and Bertrand Cohen said forming part of Banijay offers access to international markets and copros.

* French producer Federation Entertainment SA has raised €16 million led by Bpifrance SA, together with BNP Paribas Développement SA SCR, Amundi SA, Alliance Entreprendre SAS and Entrepreneur Venture.

* Antoine Darodes will leave his position as director of France's digital agency L'Agence du Numérique at the end of October for personal reasons, Univers Freebox reports. A replacement has not yet been appointed.


* Deutsche Telekom is set to offer concessions to satisfy antitrust concerns from the European Commission about its proposed acquisition of Tele2 Netherlands, Reuters reports, citing a source. EU antitrust regulators could extend the Nov. 30 deadline for a ruling on the deal should the German telco proceed with submitting concessions. The commission earlier warned that the proposed deal could lead to price increases.

* Schiphol Airport Amsterdam has announced it is partnering up with Dutch mobile operators KPN NV, T-Mobile Netherlands BV and VodafoneZiggo to develop a new indoor mobile network at the airport over the next two years. The network will be suitable for 5G use and will see over 30 antenna installations installed at the airport. VodafoneZiggo is jointly owned by Vodafone Group PLC and Liberty Global PLC.


* Tele2 said that the European Commission has also closed an investigation in to the company and three other telcos in Sweden. The commission initiated an investigation into anticompetitive behaviour by four telcos in Sweden in April 2017.

* Sanoma Media Finland Oy said it has started co-determination talks to streamline operating costs. Talks with unions are expected to result in around 80 job losses.

* Telia Co. AB said it repurchased a total of 2,975,000 own shares during Oct. 1 to Oct. 5. The repurchase forms part of a 5 billion Swedish kronor share buyback program that was launched by Telia on April 20.


* AMC Networks International-Southern Europe and ATRESMEDIA Internacional have agreed to jointly roll out a package of Spanish-language TV channels that will be offered to pay TV providers in Europe. The package will include AMCNISE's thematic channels Canal Cocina, Canal Decasa, Sol Música and Somos, as well as the Atrescine, Atreseries and Antena 3 Internacional channels. AMC Networks International Southern Europe is a unit of AMC Networks Inc.'s AMC Networks International, while Atresmedia Corporación de Medios de Comunicación SA owns ATRESMEDIA Internacional.

* Spanish operator MásMóvil Ibercom SA is launching Agile TV, an Android TV-based package, in partnership with Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd., Advanced Television reports. The package is touted as having the lowest price in the market, with a promotional price of €3, and will eventually cost €5 per month beginning November.

* Telefónica secured a €12.9 million contract from the Spanish government to update, replace and maintain ankle bracelets for the monitoring of gender violence offenders across the country, Telecompaper reports, citing Movilonia. The contract lasts for two years and may be extended for five more years.

* Kena Mobile, a mobile virtual network operator owned by Telecom Italia SpA, rolled out Star 5, a low-cost 4G offer that is expected to compete with similar services offered by Iliad's Italian unit and Vodafone Italia's Ho brand, Telecompaper reports.


* Microsoft Corp., through its Romanian unit, opened a cloud laboratory at the country's West University of Timișoara, Telecompaper reports, citing Ziarul Financiar. The facility is open for use by the university to aid in teaching and research projects, as well as by technology startups seeking to develop new platforms.

* The Competition Council of the Republic of Lithuania junked a complaint from Telia Lithuania regarding a supposedly misleading advertising campaign by Tele2 Lithuania over the speed of the latter's mobile internet service, Telecompaper reports, citing The ad reportedly did not refer to any specific company.

* Elisa Corp.'s Estonian unit has begun offering access to its narrowband internet of things network for its corporate clients, Telecompaper reports.

* Dmitriy Palyshev has stepped down as deputy head of Russian state communications agency Rossvyaz, Telecompaper reports, citing Prime. Details on Palyshev's successor were not revealed.


M&A Replay: European deals: Publicis buys Kindred Group; Cimpress completes BuildASign buy: French advertising company Publicis Groupe acquired Czech Republic-based digital communications company Kindred Group. Cimpress has closed the acquisition of BuildASign from PWP Growth Equity.


The Best Of: Kagan research and analysis, editor's picks: Presenting the editor's top picks from Kagan's exclusive research and analysis for the week ended Oct. 5.

Anne Freier, Sylvia Edwards Davis, Charlotte van Hek and Gerard O'Dwyer contributed to this report.

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