* Liberty Global PLC-backed producer All3Media Ltd. and Walt Disney Co. are among those still in the running to bid for content powerhouse Endemol Shine Group Ltd., TBI Vision reports, citing sources. A deal is reportedly expected to be struck by year-end. Disney owns a partial stake in Endemol Shine.
* A Spanish court ruled to halt the merger of Mediaset SpA with Mediaset España Comunicación SA under Dutch holding company MFE-Mediaforeurope NV, pending a legal challenge from Vivendi SA, Reuters reports, citing a statement from Mediaset España. Italian company Mediaset said the suspension is "being immediately challenged" and affirmed that "Vivendi will not succeed in halting Mediaset's European expansion project." Mediaset received a writ from Simon Fiduciaria SpA calling for the annulment of the merger's shareholder approval.
* Facebook Inc. was criticized by British legislators for paying £28.5 million of taxes in the U.K. in 2018, despite reporting advertising sales revenue of £1.65 billion, Dublin's Irish Independent reports. Member of Parliament Margaret Hodge called the tax payment "outrageous," while Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell referred to it as an example of "large-scale tax avoidance."
UK AND IRELAND
* Filmmaker Martin Scorsese defended his decision to agree on a financing deal with Netflix Inc. for his new film "The Irishman," London's The Guardian reports. Scorsese said the streaming giant was prepared to support him for the movie after more traditional studios dropped out.
* Nordic Entertainment Group AB named Richard Halliwell managing director of its British content production and distribution operations under NENT Studios UK. He will fulfill the new role alongside his current post as CEO of Nordic Entertainment-owned content producer DRG, in a bid to ensure support for Nent Studios UK's productions.
* The British government and the British Broadcasting Corp. must agree on a funding formula to ensure that audiences aged over 75 would continue to get free TV licenses, the House of Commons' digital, culture, media and sport committee said in a report. The committee noted flaws in the 2015 license fee funding negotiations between the government and the BBC. BBC Chairman David Clementi welcomed the committee's report.
* Qualtrics International Inc. plans to double its Irish workforce to more than 700 from 300 "in the next few years," Dublin's The Irish Times reports. The U.S. software company would create additional office space in Dublin as part of its workforce expansion.
* British Telecom rolled out 5G plans for both consumers and business clients in areas where the telco's 5G service is already available. Subscribers with 5G handsets will be able to choose from four plans offering 12 GB, 30 GB, 60 GB or 200 GB, with monthly rates starting at £45.
* U.K. telecom regulator Ofcom unveiled new measures aimed at protecting broadband subscribers from high prices, following a review of Britain's broadband market. Among others, Ofcom challenged broadband providers to offer fairer prices for out-of-contract customers, with most of the commitments taking effect by March 2020.
GERMANY, SWITZERLAND AND AUSTRIA
* Sunrise Communications Group AG and Liberty Global entered into a rights purchase agreement that will see the latter investing up to CHF500 million in a combination of Sunrise tradable rights and subsequent subscription of newly issued shares. Liberty Global will be given rights to nominate a representative for election to Sunrise's board of directors at the next annual general meeting if it exceeds a 5% shareholding.
* Proxy advisers Glass Lewis, Ethos and zRating supported Sunrise Communications' proposed CHF 2.8 billion ordinary capital increase to finance the acquisition of UPC Schweiz. The vote on the capital increase is scheduled on Oct. 23.
* Accenture PLC agreed to acquire French data marketing company Sutter Mills SAS for an undisclosed sum. The deal will allow Accenture Interactive in leveraging data for innovative marketing strategies, the company said.
* TF1 Group formed a new general management for its Vertical Station unit, following the departure of Laure Lefevre and Maxime Barbier. Nicolas Capuron was named managing director, with Olivier Abecassis assuming the role of president, representing TF1 Group's digital arm Unify.
NETHERLANDS, BELGIUM AND LUXEMBOURG
* RTL Group SA plans to cut 50 jobs as part of a downsizing strategy, Meedia reports. Staff at the company's corporate center in Luxembourg are affected.
* KPN NV unit KPN Wholesale will apply an inflation correction to its various services for network access, co-location and fiber to the home, effective Jan. 1, 2020. As a result, the rates of affected services will be increased by 2.6%.
* The management of Belgian public broadcaster VRT said public broadcasters will have to apply budget cuts that are higher than expected in the coming years, saying total savings should amount to more than €40 million by 2024 and not the €12 million that an initial analysis said. Trade unions claim 250 jobs at VRT are under threat as a result of the cutbacks.
* Nokia Corp. is in discussions with Indian telecom operators for supply deals related to their respective 4G network expansion plans in rural areas, The Economic Times of India reports, citing Sanjay Malik, head of Nokia India. The Finnish gear-maker is also in talks with telcos such as Bharti Airtel Ltd. and Vodafone Idea Ltd. to help them prepare for 5G technology by modernizing their backhaul and fronthaul networks.
* Nokia completed a 5G end-to-end live network trial in Indonesia, through a tie-up with PT Hutchison 3 Indonesia. The trial was able to display the 3ID network's ability to support end-to-end 5G deployment after multiple tests were conducted on the 28GHz spectrum.
* BBC Four (UK) struck a deal with Banijay Group SAS to acquire Norwegian crime drama series "Wisting." Cinenord and Good Company Films produced the series in partnership with Viaplay, Degeto Film and TV3 Norway.
* Telenor ASA launched a mandatory public cash tender offer to buy all outstanding shares in DNA Oyj. Telenor Finland Holding Oy is managing the share purchase process.
* Nordic Entertainment Group unveiled its next original documentary series titled "The Last Journey of the Vikings," which will be coproduced and distributed by its unit DRG. The four-part documentary will premiere on the Viaplay platform in 2020.
* Nordic Entertainment Group's recently appointed chief content officer Filippa Wallestam selected six executives for a team that will be responsible for the company's content, international co-productions and acquisitions, TBI Vision reports. Former Viaplay executive Fredrik Ljungberg was appointed as vice president of international scripted content, Camilla Rydbacken as vice president of Nordic scripted content, Vanda Rapti as vice president and head of acquisitions, Kenneth Kristensen as vice president of non-scripted content and Christian Albeck as vice president of content programming.
* Portuguese Secretary of State for Finance Ricardo Mourinho Félix said Facebook's Libra project should not be allowed to circulate before its risks to the financial system are addressed, Reuters reports. Facebook's cryptocurrency project is a "high-risk phenomenon with systemic implications," Reuters quoted Félix as saying.
* Sports streaming platform DAZN will broadcast the Basketball Champions League under a three-year agreement effective immediately. The current season will run from Oct. 15 until May 2020.
* Vodafone Greece's Vodafone TV introduced the Open TV On Demand program, which offers various TV series and shows, Telecompaper reports. The program allows its subscribers to access content through any device. Vodafone Group PLC owns Vodafone Greece.
* Italian operator Wind Tre SpA launched its first commercial fiber services in the city of L'Aquila in Abruzzo using the network of Enel SpA unit Enel Open Fiber SpA, Telecompaper reports. Wind Tre will begin offering fiber-to-the-home services at speeds of up to 1 Gbps.
* Content distributor THEMA entered into an agreement that will see wellbeing channel MyZen TV's broadcast in Greece through direct-to-home operator Nova. MyZen TV will be available on Nova's basic tier. Vivendi unit Canal Plus SA owns THEMA.
* Russian national operator Rostelecom PJSC acquired smart platforms developer Netris JSC for 1.7 billion Russian rubles, Telecompaper reports, citing Cnews.ru.
* Mobile TeleSystems PJSC decided not to delist its shares from the NYSE, Telecompaper reports, citing Prime's interview with Vladimir Yevtushenkov, the main shareholder of Sistema PJSFC, which is MTS' controlling shareholder. The announcement comes after the Russian operator earlier considered delisting on the NYSE and to list on the Moscow Exchange.
* The Russian Ministry of Communications introduced a new draft methodology that offers a lower pricing for 5G spectrum in the country, Telecompaper reports, citing Cnews.ru. The starting price for one lot of 200 MHz in the 25.25-27.5 GHz band is anticipated to be reduced from 2.3 billion rubles to 670 million rubles.
Data Dispatch: 'Joker' to laugh off competition from 'Addams Family,' 'Gemini Man': "The Addams Family" and "Gemini Man" opened over the weekend of Oct. 11. Despite classic family-friendly IP and big-budget A-list power, neither are expected to overcome the dark reign of "Joker."
Economics of TV & Film: Disney blockbusters top October VOD: A look at movies and events on video on demand and pay-per-view in October.
Technology: Fighting fiber with hybrid-fiber: Cable industry weaponizes 10G, DOCSIS 4.0: DOCSIS 4.0 and 10G took center stage at the 2019 Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers Cable Technology Expo, held Sept. 30-Oct. 3 in New Orleans.
Anne Freier, Amanda Kelly, Charlotte van Hek and Gerard O'Dwyer contributed to this report.
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