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Consortium eyes UK's Inmarsat; Google to launch cloud-based gaming platform


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Consortium eyes UK's Inmarsat; Google to launch cloud-based gaming platform


* Inmarsat PLC said it was in talks to be acquired by a consortium including private equity firms Apax Partners LLP and Warburg Pincus International LLC, confirming recent media speculation. The London-based mobile satellite communications giant said the consortium on Jan. 31 made a nonbinding proposal to potentially acquire 100% of Inmarsat's shares at US$7.21 apiece, which assumed no further dividends would be payable by the target company.

* Google LLC is launching a cloud-based game streaming platform called Stadia. The service will allow players to stream games from Google's data centers via the Chrome browser on a range of devices, including desktops, laptops, and select phones and tablets. The Alphabet Inc. unit is aiming to deliver games at resolutions of up to 4K with HDR and surround sound when the service launches later this year in select countries, including the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and much of Europe.


* Google will allow Android users in Europe to choose their preferred browser "to ensure that Android phone owners know about the wide choice of browsers and search engines available," the Alphabet unit's senior vice president of global affairs, Kent Walker, said in a blog post.

* DistroScale's over-the-top service DistroTV is adding Gusto Worldwide Media's food channel Gusto TV to its roster, TBI Vision reports. The streaming platform is available in Britain and the U.S.


* Advent International Corp. and Blackstone Group LP are among the latest buyout firms considering potential bids for a majority stake in Kantar, the data analytics unit of advertising group WPP PLC, Reuters reports, citing four sources with knowledge of the matter.

* Comcast Corp.'s Sky PLC has struck a deal to bring select comedy and drama content from BBC Studios to its pay TV service and streaming platform NOW TV. The content will be available through the Gold (UK) and Alibi (UK) channels of broadcaster UKTV, which the British Broadcasting Corp. unit co-owns with Discovery Inc.

* British Telecom's BT Sport secured rights to broadcast events from British boxing entertainment brand Ultimate Boxxer, Advanced Television reports.

* Channel 4 (UK) unveiled details on the creative, digital and operational departments that will move to its new offices across Britain. Among others, the public broadcaster's upcoming national headquarters in Leeds will house the creative and digital departments as well as a new digital creative unit.

* BT's infrastructure unit Openreach Ltd. said it is expecting to roll out broadband services based on its fiber-to-the-premises technology across the entire city of Salisbury by April 2020.


* Germany's Federal Network Agency launched the auction for 5G frequencies in the country. The initial bidding includes 41 blocks of spectrum in the 2 GHz and 3.6 GHz bands for 5G networks, Reuters reports. United Internet AG unit 1&1 Drillisch AG, which intends to become a fourth operator in the country, has bid €20 million apiece for 10 blocks of spectrum, while Deutsche Telekom AG, Vodafone Group PLC's Vodafone Kabel Deutschland GmbH and Telefónica SA's Telefónica Deutschland Holding AG have offered minimum opening bids for selected blocks, according to a separate Reuters report.

* Banijay Group SAS-owned German production company Brainpool TV GmbH has hired former Endemol Shine Group exec Fabian Tobias to head its Show and Factual arm, effective July, TBI Vision reports.

* Bertelsmann SE & Co. KGaA board member Kasper Rorsted is stepping down, effective March 31. His successor will be decided by the board at a suitable time.

* Swiss media company CH Media Holding AG is suspending publication of its paper Zentralschweiz am Sonntag as well as its electronic edition Ostschweiz am Sonntag, in a withdrawal from the Sunday market, Horizont reports.


* Orange SA and Nokia Corp. have partnered to develop a long-distance network in France, Europe and Asia. The project involves the full migration of Orange's long-distance network to a photonic control plane, which allows for the deployment of on-demand activation services and automatic recovery control via artificial technologies if there is an outage.

* Iliad SA has released its full-year results for 2018, which show a decrease in revenues in France by 1.9% to about €4.77 billion. EBITDA went up to more than €1.8 billion, representing 37.9% of revenues.

* French regulator CSA has released a report that reviews available options in France to access television free of charge or by pay TV, either through digital terrestrial TV, satellite and Internet. It has identified various areas for improvement that include the deployment of fixed internet networks, server provisioning, cache server network solutions and video file compression.


* Proximus launched a multiyear plan for the rollout of a fiber network in the Belgian city of Aalst. The telecom provider has plans to equip 84 construction projects with a fiber connection, and additionally connect 15,000 addresses in the city center by end-2020.

* The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets ordered KPN NV to set new and cost-oriented rates for number porting. The ACM investigated KPN's rates and found that the number porting prices that are charged to customers were higher than the costs incurred by KPN, which is not allowed.

* KPN NV implemented a frequency change of its Digitenne service in several parts of the Netherlands, in order to free up a spectrum of frequencies for future mobile services, TotaalTV reports.


* Reliance Industries Ltd. Chairman Mukesh Ambani settled the debt owed by Reliance Communications Ltd. to Ericsson, a bailout which saves his brother, RCom Chairman Anil Ambani, from imprisonment, India's The Economic Times reports. The dues are worth 5.8 billion Indian rupees.

* Nokia said security monitoring analytics solutions company Room40 has adopted its Nokia Scene Analytics platform in its solution for various sites across Belgium. The solution will use machine-learning algorithms to identify anomalies in video, audio and sensor information streams, and flag incidents in real-time.

* In a separate statement, Nokia said it has been chosen by Cambodian internet service provider SINET to launch its new high-speed broadband services.

* Norwegian telecom regulator Nkom is preparing to allocate the 450 MHz band for 20 new years. Existing permits expire Dec. 31, with new permits planned to be awarded from Jan. 1, 2020.

* Vodafone Iceland's parent company Syn said its CFO Hrönn Sveinsdóttir is leaving the company. Sveinsdóttir has been with the company since 2005. Syn has not announced who is taking over the position.

* "Angry Birds" maker Rovio Entertainment Oyj has teamed up with Swedish game studio Resolution Games AB for the development of mobile augmented reality game "Angry Birds AR: Isle of Pigs," according to a news release. The new game is now available for pre-order on Apple Inc.'s App Store and will be available globally by the spring.


* Telecom Italia SpA's minority investors association Associazione Azionisti Telecom Italia plans to vote against Vivendi SA's proposal to dislodge five Elliott Advisors (UK) Ltd.-appointed directors at a shareholders' meeting scheduled this month, Telecompaper reports.

* MásMóvil Ibercom SA's board of directors has appointed Nathalie Picquot, general director of Twitter Inc.'s Spanish unit, and Rafael Canales, CEO of investment holding Onchena SL, as the Spanish operator's new independent and proprietory directors, Telecompaper reports.

* The Spanish government has greenlit grants totaling to about €150 million, which will be used to increase fiber-to-the-home connections in rural areas in the next three years, Telecompaper reports. About €125 million of the funds is coming from European program FEDER, while about €25 million will come from the country's national budget.


* Rostelecom PJSC plans to invest about 60.4 billion Russian rubles for the installation of fiber-optic lines in about 52 regions in the country, Telecompaper reports. The Russian operator has announced terms for parties interested to bid for the planned project.

* Telia Co. AB said it has paid $208.5 million to the Dutch Public Prosecution Service, thus completing all financial obligations under the global settlement agreements relating to a corruption case in Uzbekistan in 2012. Telia said no more financial obligations will happen, as the Swedish prosecutor withdrew its appeal against the ruling by the Stockholm city court in February over a disgorgement claim against the former.

* Yandex NV said it has teamed up with Hyundai Motor Co. unit Hyundai Mobis Co. Ltd. to build self-driving software and hardware. The technologies will be tested on self-driving Hyundai and Kia vehicles.


The Program Guide: 'One Hundred Years of Solitude' coming to Netflix; Amazon renews 'American Gods': Netflix will adapt Gabriel García Márquez's "One Hundred Years of Solitude" novel as a Spanish language original series, while renewed its original drama series "American Gods" for a third season.

Analysts: Spotify, YouTube face tough competition, low ARPU in India: International music streaming giants Spotify and YouTube face a heavily entrenched market in India, where increasing average revenues per user will be tough, analysts say.


Global Multichannel: Latin America M&A: Millicom expands dominance in Central America: Central America was home to 12 out of Latin America's 17 deals since end-2017. Regulator decisions on AT&T-Warner, Disney-Fox and spectrum caps push sales of Sky Brasil, Fox Sports networks and Nextel.

Anne Freier, Amanda Kelly, Koen Pijnappels and Esben Svendsen contributed to this report.

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