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Altice plans SFR Group buyout; AMC Networks preps Spanish OTT

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Altice plans SFR Group buyout; AMC Networks preps Spanish OTT

TOP NEWS

* Altice NV said it struck several deals to ensure the ownership of 95.9% of the share capital and voting rights of SFR Group SA. Altice plans to acquire SFR Group's shares through exchanges against Altice's series A common shares. Further, Altice plans to file in September with French financial market watchdog AMF, for a buyout offer followed by a squeeze-out at a price of €34.50 per SFR Group share.

* AMC Networks Inc. unit AMC Networks International Iberia is working on an over-the-top platform for the Spanish market that would offer about 1,000 hours of content and 17 TV channels, Advanced Television reports. The service, Select, would be integrated into the platforms of telecom operators, such as Telefónica SA, Vodafone Group Plc's Vodafone España SAU and Orange SA's Orange España.

PAN-EUROPEAN

* Amazon.com Inc. paid taxes of only €16.5 million on European revenues of €21.6 billion in 2016, as reported through Luxembourg-based unit Amazon Europe, London's The Guardian reports, citing the company's latest annual accounts for its European online retail operations. Meanwhile, Amazon's British arm Amazon UK Services more than halved its declared U.K. corporation tax year over year to £7.4 million from £15.8 million.

* Eleven Sports Network acquired rights to air live coverage of the remaining five events of the Drone Champions League in Belgium and Italy, according to a news release. The company will also air the matches in Luxembourg via a non-exclusive agreement.

UK AND IRELAND

* BBC Worldwide Ltd. and ITV Plc's subscription video on-demand service, BritBox, is now available to Amazon Prime members through Amazon Channels, Multichannel News reports. BritBox, which launched in the U.S. in March, is available on Amazon Channels for $6.99 a month, after a seven-day free trial. BBC Worldwide is the commercial arm of the British Broadcasting Corp.

* Virgin Media Ireland said it is adding video-on-demand service UKTV Play to its On Demand offering, allowing subscribers to watch content from channels such as Alibi (UK), Dave (UK), Gold (UK) and W (UK). UKTV is a joint venture between BBC Worldwide and Scripps Networks Interactive Inc.

* The U.K. Information Commissioner's Office fined TalkTalk Telecom Group PLC £100,000 for providing inadequate security measures in sharing its customers' data with a third-party supplier. The penalty follows the ICO's probe into TalkTalk's data-sharing deal with its customer service outsourcer, IT services company Wipro, after customers complained of scam calls.

* Norwegian investor Christen Ager-Hanssen of private equity firm Custos is planning to increase the company's stake in heavily indebted publisher Johnston Press plc, currently at more than 5%, London's The Daily Telegraph reports. Ager-Hanssen also plans to refinance the publisher's £220 million bond debt.

GERMANY, SWITZERLAND AND AUSTRIA

* Sky Deutschland GmbH announced the launch of Sky Sport in Switzerland. Sports fans will be able to view related content from Aug. 17. The announcement follows recent news that Sky plc and Sunrise Communications Group AG partnered to launch the Sky Sport app.

FRANCE

* French independent record label Because Music bought a Warner Music Group Corp. catalog composed of titles from London Records artists such as Bananarama, Fine Young Cannibals, Bronski Beat, Orbital and Happy Mondays, Les Echos reports. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. In addition to London Records, there are "more than 50 other important catalogs" and a total of 3,500 titles.

NETHERLANDS, BELGIUM AND LUXEMBOURG

* A number of Dutch publishers expressed their discontent about the deal that digital kiosk Blendle closed with Vodafone Nederland, Villamedia reports. According to the publishers, Blendle offers Vodafone subscribers free access to premium articles without compensating publishers.

NORDIC COUNTRIES

* Swedish-founded music-streaming service SoundCloud Ltd. is planning to replace founder Alex Ljung as CEO in connection with a new funding deal, Recode reports. Ljung will be replaced by former Vimeo LLC CEO Kerry Trainor. SoundCloud wants to raise $170 million in new venture capital to save the company, but investors have called for Ljung to be removed.

* Ericsson said it entered into a consortium with Toyota and Intel Corp., among others, on developing an ecosystem for connected cars. The system will support emerging services like intelligent driving, the creation of maps with real-time data and driving assistance based on cloud computing.

SOUTHERN EUROPE

* Walt Disney Co.'s decision to cut content agreements with Netflix Inc. will not affect the streaming giant's Disney content in Spain, Rapid TV News reports. The companies' agreement remains the same in markets outside the U.S., the report said, citing Netflix.

* The Italian government has pushed back the deadline for Telecom Italia SpA's report on Vivendi SA's role in the Rome-based operator, Reuters reports, citing a source with knowledge of the matter. The new deadline is Aug. 23. Regulators in Rome have also begun conducting an investigation into Vivendi's control over Telecom Italia.

* Vivendi's increased influence on Telecom Italia does not translate to the former's control over the Italian operator, according to Telecom Italia's lawyers, Telecompaper reports, citing Il Sole 24 Ore. Generally, the nonexistence of such control means that the government has no grounds to veto changes in control, according to the report.

EASTERN EUROPE

* Telenor ASA said its Serbian bank Telenor Banka struck a strategic partnership with Bulgarian investment fund River Styxx Capital. The fund will acquire 85% of the shares in the bank, with Telenor retaining 15% ownership. Telenor Banka was Telenor Group's first wholly-owned financial institution.

* Hrvatski Telekom will be including MAXtv To Go to its Stream On service in September, Broadband TV News reports. The Deutsche Telekom AG unit's streaming service allows subscribers to access streaming platforms without being deducted with data consumption.

* The Czech Republic's Council for Radio and Television Broadcasting awarded 12-year satellite licenses for eight channels operated by AMC Networks Central Europe, Broadband TV News reports.

* Liberty Global plc has appointed Ionut Voinea as vice president of integration and operations for central and eastern Europe, Broadband TV News reports. Voinea is currently UPC Romania's technical director, the report said, citing Romanian media.

FEATURED NEWS

Charter's largest shareholder has reservations about Altice deal: Greg Maffei, CEO of Charter's biggest shareholder Liberty Broadband, noted any deal for Charter would have to offer more than just debt.

Hires and Fires Europe: European Media & Comm moves through Aug. 9: Orange, BT, Telecom Italia: S&P Global Market Intelligence presents a biweekly rundown of executive and board changes in the European media and communications industries.

Hires and Fires: US Media & Comm management moves through Aug. 9: Amazon, Google, Disney: S&P Global Market Intelligence presents a weekly rundown of executive changes in the media and communications industries.

FEATURED RESEARCH

Economics of Networks: Disney OTT may impact future premium output deals: Walt Disney's strategy reversal regarding over-the-top is likely to have rippling effects throughout the industry and ultimately disrupt the lucrative premium-network window.

RECENT EARNINGS

Snap misses on Q2 EPS as revenue, users grow: Shares dropped precipitously in after-hours trading as Snap reported a miss on earnings.

Anne Freier, Amanda Kelly, Charlotte van Hek and Esben Svendsen contributed to this report. The Daily Dose has an editorial deadline of 7 a.m. London time. Some external links may require a subscription.