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Altice mulls financial aid for Charter bid; SoundCloud locks in investment

TOP NEWS

* Altice NV could take the private equity route to finance the acquisition of U.S. cable operator Charter Communications Inc., valued at $120 billion, Bloomberg News reports. The funds under consideration are Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and BC Partners, but there have been no official talks yet.

* SoundCloud Ltd. founder and Chairman Alexander Ljung announced that the music streaming company has raised funding from The Raine Group and Temasek and confirmed that the company's operations will continue. SoundCloud has also appointed Kerry Trainor and Mike Weissman to be CEO and COO, respectively. Ljung, the former CEO, will remain chairman of SoundCloud.

UK AND IRELAND

* Ireland may come into an agreement with Apple Inc. within weeks to avoid losses from the tech giant's back taxes worth €15 billion, Dublin's The Independent reports, citing a source familiar with the matter. The amount will be placed in an escrow account until the conclusion of the appeal process, which may take as long as five years. The money will be returned to Apple if the ruling goes in favor of the company.

* One of British Telecom's investors is calling for the replacement of company CEO Gavin Patterson in the next year, saying that the telecom operator's leader is "not the right man for the job," London's The Daily Telegraph reports. The unnamed investor, whose stake in the company is worth hundreds of millions of pounds, said his fund prefers for BT to be led by an executive with a regulatory and engineering background.

* Sky plc's Sky Sports and British Telecom's BT Sport will both be airing matches from the Premier League, according to the companies' news releases. BT Sport has gained exclusive rights for the live broadcast of the matches, which would begin Sept. 30. The Premier League rights auction is slated to launch within the year.

GERMANY, SWITZERLAND AND AUSTRIA

* Amazon.com Inc. will cease the operations of its DVD and Blu-ray rental service Lovefilm in Germany, effective Oct. 31, Broadband TV News reports, citing the company. About 50 Lovefilm employees will be provided with new positions at Amazon.

* Facebook Inc. has taken over Erfurt, Germany-based company fayteq GmbH, reports Gruenderszene. The startup provides a patented system that allows for the removal of real items from a live video stream. This enables real-time editing of film and video content.

* Unitymedia announced the restructuring of its TV and radio frequencies, according to DWDL. A majority of the channels will be receiving a new channel number, according to the report.

* German media company WDR Mediagroup plans to close its call center in Cologne Mediapark as part of the company's cost-saving measures, according to New Business magazine. The call center has 60 full-time staff.

FRANCE

* A security loophole was detected in some Orange SA and SFR Group set-top boxes allowing anyone to connect by bypassing the ID and password authentication, Next Inpact reports. Oranges said it is deploying a fix to the Livebox, while SFR said it is studying the issue.

* The Olympic Games in Paris 2024 could include eSports, Le Figaro reports. Tony Estanguet, co-chair of the Paris 2024 Committee, told AFP that he intends to speak to the International Olympic Committee and eSports representatives before the 2019 deadline to consider the inclusion of eSports as a nonofficial discipline.

* French government-funded radio RFI has resumed services in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Reuters reports. The station had been shut down since Nov. 5, 2016, by the local government due to its perceived sympathy to opposition rallies.

NETHERLANDS, BELGIUM AND LUXEMBOURG

* U.S.-based hedge fund Third Point, founded by its CEO Dan Loeb, bought 2.7 million shares in Dutch chipmaker NXP Semiconductors NV, equivalent to about 0.8% of the latter's outstanding stock, Bloomberg News reports. Meanwhile, Third Point off-loaded its $200.1 million position in Qualcomm Inc., which is set to acquire NXP.

* KPN NV will stop offering its WBA ISDN ADSL and ADSL2+ ISDN services, effective March 1, 2020, reports Telecompaper. The provider will stop new sales of the services from Sept. 1, 2019.

* Political party D66 wants Dutch public broadcaster NPO to stop geoblocking, to allow people from anywhere in the world to view NPO's channels, TotaalTV reports. According to the broadcaster, geoblocking is necessary to ensure the broadcasting rights of purchased content.

* Proximus is planning on significantly increasing its 4.5G coverage in the coming weeks and months, according to an official statement. Seven Belgian cities currently have 4.5G availability.

NORDIC COUNTRIES

* Modern Times Group MTG AB said it has extended its exclusive media rights to the Kontinental Hockey League in the Nordic region until 2021. Selected matches will be broadcast live on the Viasat Hockey channel or the Viaplay streaming service.

* TDC A/S has ended all cooperation with Serbian subcontractor Roaming Networks, after it was found that its employees' contracts were not in accordance with Danish labor requirements, ITwatch reports. Roaming Networks has 60 employees in Denmark and was hired by Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. to set up a new network for TDC.

SOUTHERN EUROPE

* Portugal's Council of Ministers approved the nomination of João Cadete de Matos as the next president of the National Communications Authority, Telecompaper reports. Cadete de Matos will take over from Fatima Barros whose term expired in May.

EASTERN EUROPE

* A Lithuanian court upheld a decision on the U.S. extradition of Evaldas Rimasauskas, who was charged with swindling more than $100 million from Facebook and Alphabet Inc. unit Google Inc., Reuters reports, citing a statement from the court. Rimasauskas and his accomplices reportedly posed as Quanta Computer Inc., a Taiwanese supplier for the tech giants, via email to swindle money from the companies.

* Auditing firm KPMG Baltics proposed a shareholder structure in case of a merger between Latvian fixed operator Lattelecom Group and mobile operator LMT, Telecompaper reports, citing Db.lv. Under the proposal, the Latvian state and Telia Co. AB would each own stakes of up to 40% in the merged entity, with a 30% stake to be sold to investors over the stock exchange. Telia said it is in favor of the merger, according to the report.

* Private equity firm Warburg Pincus LLC is soliciting interest from potential buyers of its 72% holding in Polish cable operator Inea SA, Telecompaper reports, citing Puls Biznesu. Infrastructure funds Macquarie Group, Antin Infrastructure and Partners Group are among those reportedly interested in the stake.

* Cable TV operator Telemach Montenegro acquired the pay TV license formerly owned by M-Kabl, in compliance with a decision by Montenegro's Agency for Electronic Media, Telecompaper reports. The takeover culminates the merger of local operators M-Kabl and Total TV Montenegro into Telemach.

* Russian hacking group APT28 is suspected of being behind a hacking campaign targeting hotel guests in eight countries across Europe and the Middle East last July, security company FireEye Inc. said. APT28 is said to have used a malicious document containing malware that can infect the travelers' organizational networks back home.

FEATURED NEWS

Samsung, Arqiva start UK 5G trials; Alibaba to turn Macau into smart city: S&P Global Market Intelligence provides a biweekly roundup of the latest developments in technology in Asia-Pacific.

FEATURED RESEARCH

Economics of Networks: OTT, skinny bundles here to stay; cablenets look to cut out middlemen: There has been a flurry of announcements recently from cable network owners looking to cut out the middlemen for OTT & skinny bundles.

Anne Freier, Sylvia Edwards Davis, 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.