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Nokia, Huawei ink license deal; Spotify, Tencent to swap stakes

In this monthly Best of Nordics feature, S&P Global Market Intelligence provides a roundup of recent market developments in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland and Iceland.

TOP NEWS

* Nokia Corp. on Dec. 21 announced that it signed a multiyear patent license agreement with Chinese smartphone manufacturer Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd., details of which were kept confidential. The Finnish firm expects revenue from the agreement to be recognized starting in the fourth quarter of 2017.

* Sweden's Spotify AB and Tencent Holdings Ltd. subsidiary Tencent Music Entertainment Group agreed to buy equity stakes in each other, according to a Dec. 8 news release. The announcement comes after The Wall Street Journal reported Dec. 1 that the companies have been in talks for swap stakes of up to 10% in each other, ahead of their expected public flotations in 2018.

M&A

* Deutsche Telekom AG struck a cash-and-stock deal that will allow T-Mobile Netherlands to acquire Tele2 AB unit Tele2 Netherlands. Under the agreement, which the companies announced Dec. 15, Tele2 will get €190 million and a 25% stake in the merged company. Deutsche Telekom will hold the remaining 75% and infuse capital into the merged entity via a €1.1 billion intercompany loan.

* Nokia has denied reports that it is in talks to acquire U.S. network equipment company Juniper Networks Inc. The Finnish tech giant said Nov. 30 that it is "not currently in talks with, nor is it preparing an offer" for Juniper.

INTERNET, OTT AND MOBILE

* Deutsche Telekom has tapped Ericsson AB to upgrade its mobile network prior to the anticipated roll-out of 5G technology, according to a Dec. 14 news release. Under a five-year deal, Ericsson will supply "5G-ready" multi-standard solutions for Deutsche Telekom's 2G, 3G and 4G networks.

CONTENT, CARRIAGE AND LICENSING DEALS

* 21st Century Fox Inc.'s Fox Networks Group is gearing up to introduce a National Geographic on-demand service in Europe and Africa in 2018, Variety reported Dec. 4. In the Nordics, National Geographic+ will be available on the YouSee A/S pay TV platform in Denmark in 2018.

REGULATORY AND LEGAL

* Xtera, a sub-sea fiber optics solutions provider, filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission against Nokia, including Alcatel-Lucent, and NEC Corp., for alleged infringement of its intellectual property in sub-sea telecommunications systems, the company announced Dec. 22. It is asserting five patents against the two companies.

* BlackBerry Ltd. will pay $137 million to Nokia to settle a patent payment dispute, following a decision from the International Chamber of Commerce's International Court of Arbitration. The court ruled that BlackBerry failed to make certain payments to Nokia under a patent license contract between the two companies, the Canadian smartphone company said in a Dec. 1 statement.

OTHER NEWS

* Nokia on Dec. 11 announced that COO Monika Maurer is stepping down to pursue new opportunities outside the company. The Finnish tech giant named Joerg Erlemeier the company's new COO. Erlemeier will also join the Nokia group's leadership team.

* Ericsson on Dec. 8 announced that it restated its financials for full year 2015, each 2016 quarter and the first three quarters of 2017 to reflect a new segment reporting structure as of the fourth quarter of 2017. The new segments are Networks, Digital services, Managed Services and the Other segment, which includes products and services that allow content owners, broadcasters, TV service providers and network operators to deliver, manage and monetize new TV experiences. The segment also includes iconectiv and emerging business such as Internet of Things and Unified Delivery Network.

* T-Mobile US Inc. and Ericsson recorded speeds of 1.1 Gbps using 12-layer licensed assisted access technology, according to a Dec. 5 announcement. The LAA demo was carried out at T-Mobile's Bellevue, Wash., lab using the Ericsson Radio System and test equipment from Cobham Wireless.