* Vodafone Group PLC and MásMóvil Ibercom SA denied reports that the latter is looking to buy Vodafone España SAU, Reuters reports. In a statement, a MásMóvil spokesman said the company is "not working on a process to buy, merge or create a joint venture with Vodafone Spain." A Vodafone spokesman also said "there is no truth" to the talks.
* Vivendi SA is willing to retain a minority shareholding in the new company that will be formed through a deal that may combine Banijay Group SAS and Endemol Shine Group Ltd., Les Echos reports. Vivendi owns a 31.4% stake in Banijay.
* Italian infrastructure fund F2i SGR SpA and Australian investment bank Macquarie Group Ltd. are among those interested in investing in a proposed fixed-broadband joint venture between Telecom Italia SpA and Enel Open Fiber SPA, Telecompaper reports, quoting sources cited by Il Messaggero. Up to 15 infrastructure funds reportedly received a confidential dossier on the proposed tie-up, which valued Open Fiber's entire share capital at between €3 billion and €4 billion.
* The U.K. government's urgency to roll out "full-fiber" broadband across the nation could boost private equity and infrastructure fund investment in local alternative network providers, analysts said.
* The European Commission issued regulatory clearance for New Media Investment Group Inc.'s planned transaction with USA Today owner Gannett Co. Inc. This concludes all regulatory reviews of the proposed cash-and-stock merger between the companies.
* AT&T Inc. and Vodafone Business entered into an intercarrier roaming agreement that will see the companies opening up access to their narrowband internet of things networks in the U.S. and select European markets such as Spain, Germany, Italy, U.K. and the Netherlands.
* Chinese telecom equipment provider Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. became a strategic member of the software open-source foundation, Eclipse Foundation, with a goal to participate more in the open-source projects and intensify its focus on its Europe business.
UK AND IRELAND
* The British Broadcasting Corp. is adding interactive news bulletins to its BBC Alexa skill for Amazon.com Inc.'s Echo smart speakers. Users can now ask the voice assistant to play specialist reports, longer stories and delve into the BBC's radio archive, which contains more than 90 years of clips and interviews.
* Sky Ltd.'s Sky Sports Racing entered into an agreement with the New York Racing Association and Woodbine Racetrack to exclusively broadcast races from Woodbine, Saratoga, Aqueduct and Belmont Park Racecourses in the U.K. and Ireland, Advanced Television reports.
* A U.K. cybersecurity intelligence report has prompted calls from the tech industry to obligate businesses to provide stronger authentication such as facial recognition.
* Verizon Communications Inc. teamed up with telecom-equipment maker Corning Inc. and German software giant SAP SE to develop services based on 5G and internet of things-enabled data analytics, respectively. Corning will use Verizon's 5G Ultra Wideband service to test 5G use cases for factory automation and quality assurance at its fiber-optic cable manufacturing facility in Hickory, N.C.
* The BBC launched its international news website on Tor, a privacy-focused web browser that allows access to pages on the dark web, BBC News reports.
* In another BBC news, the British broadcaster's Local News Partnerships program will be open to news platforms targeting ethnic minority audiences.
* Damian Collins, committee chair of U.K.'s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, reached out to Facebook Inc.'s vice president for global affairs and communications, Nick Clegg, to ask about the company's planned termination of end-to-end encryption in its messaging apps, policies relating to its messaging services, as well as policies and plans on political advertisements.
GERMANY, SWITZERLAND AND AUSTRIA
* Axel Springer SE will be cutting about 20% of the jobs at its tabloid newspaper Bild and newspaper Welt, according to information obtained by German journalism association DJV. Around 65 jobs will be axed from among the external editorial workforce at Bild.
* Deutsche Telekom AG is expanding its TV business and secured the licensing rights to broadcast the German football EM 2024, reports Handelsblatt. Deutsche Telekom's deal means that German public broadcasters ARD and ZDF (DE) will not be receiving the rights to broadcast in 2024.
* T-Systems International GmbH is launching a new blockchain ecosystem called the German Blockchain Ecosystem for business clients.
* Editors at German broadcasters ARD, ZDF, Deutschlandradio, Deutsche Welle, as well as Austrian broadcaster ORF and Swiss broadcaster SRF, cooperated on a charter that secures journalistic independence, reports Der Standard. The partners are now planning to gain further support from other European broadcasters.
* Amazon.com Inc.'s Prime Video Germany commissioned German comedian Markus Stoll for his own TV series. "Der Beischläfer" will debut in spring 2020, reports TBI Vision.
* Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland GmbH, Gruner + Jahr AG & Co KG and Prisma Media formed a partnership with Amazon Prime Video Channels to launch a new video-on-demand offering called GEO Télévision France.
* Iliad's Free relaunched its Série Free offering which costs €9.99 per month, reports Univers Freebox. The mobile package offers unlimited calls, SMS and MMS, 60 GB in mainland France and 4 GB per month of roaming in Europe.
* Economic interest group Les Indés Radios is strengthening its digital presence by launching its own voice app for Amazon's Echo connected speakers and Google Home, reports Les Echos. Les Indés Radios includes 131 stations and 70 of these will take part in this new initiative.
NETHERLANDS, BELGIUM AND LUXEMBOURG
* Standaard Uitgeverij NV is merging with Ballon Media NV, according to a news release. The new joint venture will create the largest publisher in Flanders and the most important Dutch-language comics publisher in the Benelux region.
* Orange Belgium SA announced a partnership with Alphabet Inc.'s Google LLC for the launch of the Google Nest Hub and Mini. The technology involved in the products allows Belgians to upgrade their home to a smart home.
* The Zeebrugge port in Belgium is working on a private 5G network that will connect various components, Datanews reports. The network is reportedly supplied by Citymesh that takes care of the end-to-end support and commercial operations and Nokia Corp. provides the equipment.
* TDC A/S CEO Allison Kirkby has emerged as the leading candidate to fill the vacant CEO position at Telia Co. AB, writes Svenska Dagbladet.
* Munters AB provisioned 116 million Swedish kronor for extra non-recurring costs linked to its European Data Center operations, due to the closure of its data center in Dison, Belgium.
* At least four groups are eyeing an investment in Wind Hellas Telecommunications SA, Telecompaper reports, citing Kathimerini. France's Iliad SA is reportedly considering acquiring the Greek telco.
* Portugal's Autoridade Nacional de Comunicações, or ANACOM, is planning to hold a 5G spectrum auction between April and June 2020, in line with the European Commission's targets, Reuters reports, citing a statement. The telecom regulator opened a public consultation on the matter, which will run for 20 working days.
* Italian public broadcaster Rai will continue airing games from the country's national soccer teams until the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, as part of an extended deal with the Italian Football Federation, Digital TV Europe reports.
* Spanish public broadcaster RTVE will receive up to €60 million state subsidy for its planned transmission of the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics, Advanced Television reports. RTVE will use the government funding to acquire the TV rights from Discovery Inc.
* Telefónica SA and AT&T-owned network, TNT, jointly rolled out the TNT Now on-demand service on the Spanish telco's pay TV platform Movistar+, Telecompaper reports.
* OTE, doing business as Cosmote SA, denied press reports stating it plans to acquire a stake in Intralot SA or Intrasoft SA, following a request from the Hellenic Capital Market Commission. The company, however, confirmed it will work with Intralot in the area of online betting services.
* Spanish watchdog Comisión Nacional de los Mercados y la Competencia began probing 14 companies involved in film distribution over exchanging commercially sensitive data, as well as their ties with digital cinema company Ymagis, Broadband TV News reports. The list of companies includes The Walt Disney Co., Sony Corp., Viacom Inc.'s Paramount Pictures Corp., Warner Media LLC's Warner Bros. and Comcast Corp.'s Universal Pictures.
* Russia's Federal Antimonopoly Service is probing over-the-top service Okko over alleged advertising law violations, Broadband TV News reports, citing Kommersant. Okko reportedly aired ads for a betting shop despite not being allowed to do so.
* Czech public broadcaster Ceska Televize secured the rights to the documentary "Mediterranean Sea" from French producer-distributor Prime Entertainment Group, Rapid TV News reports.
* A+E Networks U.K. struck a deal to launch the History and Crime+Investigation channels in Serbia, through Telekom Srbija ad's mts platform, Advanced Television reports.
5G Focus: Singapore's roadmap; Hong Kong's spectrum auction; O2's rollout: 5G Focus is a weekly global feature including notable 5G trials, launches, use cases and major equipment supply contracts. It will also feature in-depth analysis of strategies, expansion plans, business models and other related initiatives.
Data Dispatch: IBM looks to cloud as its largest business unit continues to falter: IBM's pivot towards a hybrid cloud future showed signs of early success in the third quarter and could eventually offset continued declines in systems hardware sales, analysts said.
Technology: Fiber, 5G and FWA Headline Broadband World Forum: 10G PON – specifically XGS-PON's success and the "death" of NG-PON2 – and fiber-as-a-5G enabler were hot topics at the 2019 Broadband World Forum held Oct. 15-17 in Amsterdam.
Microsoft's cloud services drive fiscal Q1'20 revenue growth: Microsoft on Oct. 23 reported total revenue of $33.06 billion for its fiscal first quarter ended Sept. 30, up 14% from $29.08 billion in the prior-year period.
Anne Freier, Amanda Kelly, Marieke Pijnappels and Gerard O'Dwyer contributed to this report.
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