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In This List

EC refers Ireland to court over Apple tax bill; Amazon to pay Luxembourg €250M

Southeast Asian broadband providers report varying performance amid COVID-19

Cable networks react to pandemic by cutting SG&A, programming costs

Strong Competition Remains For Thailand Digital Terrestrial TV Channel

ITU: Regulators discuss impacts of COVID-19 on policymaking


EC refers Ireland to court over Apple tax bill; Amazon to pay Luxembourg €250M

TOP NEWS

* The European Commission said that it is referring Ireland to the European Court of Justice over its failure to recover up to €13 billion in back-taxes from Apple Inc., excluding interest. EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said Ireland has not made "sufficient progress to restore competition," since it has yet to recover even a portion of the money from Apple that was declared illegal under the EU's state aid rules in August 2016.

* The European Commission also ordered Luxembourg to recover about €250 million from Amazon.com Inc. after the competition regulator concluded the country's tax rules allowed the U.S. online retailer to avoid paying taxes on three-quarters of its profits earned in the European Union between May 2006 and June 2014. The EC said the undue tax benefit amounted to illegal state aid to Amazon because it allowed the Seattle-based company to pay substantially less tax than other businesses.

UK AND IRELAND

* Despite quadrupling its revenues in Britain in 2016, Facebook Inc.'s tax payments in the country rose by less than £1 million, London's The Daily Telegraph reports, citing accounts filed by the social media giant. Facebook would have supposedly paid £5.1 million of taxes in the U.K. on a £58.4 million profit, but the bill was more than halved as a result of legal tax breaks on employee share awards.

* The British Broadcasting Corp. released the results of an independent audit of employee payments, as well as its report on the issue of gender pay gap within the broadcaster. The audit report, overseen by former Court of Appeal judge Patrick Elias, concluded that there is no systematic discrimination on how the BBC pays its staff based on gender.

* British Telecom unit EE Ltd. has been tapped to exclusively release Alphabet Inc. unit Google Inc.'s new devices in the U.K., including the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL smartphones and the Daydream virtual reality headset. Customers will be able to preorder the two Pixel smartphones via EE stores from Oct. 4, while the VR headset could be purchased for a one-off price of £99, or £9 per month, as part of the telco's Add to Plan.

* Vodafone Ireland paid a €250,000 fine to the country's Commission for Communications Regulation after the latter's probe found the Vodafone Group Plc unit violated rules on universal service and contract change notifications. The penalty is in relation to Vodafone Ireland's Pay As You Go customers who have been signed up to the operator's Red Roaming package.

GERMANY, SWITZERLAND AND AUSTRIA

* Alexander Coridass has resigned as president and CEO of ZDF Enterprises, a subsidiary of German public broadcaster ZDF (DE). Fred Burcksen will assume Coridass' role as spokesman of the management board and will be managing ZDF Enterprises with Co-Managing Director Stephan Adrian.

* German video-on-demand service DAZN secured exclusive streaming rights to the UEFA Europe League for three years, effective on the 2018-2019 season.

* Freiburg-based technology holdings company virtual mind AG named Thomas Peruzzi as chief technology officer, and will be overseeing the company's digital marketing technologies, among other functions.

* Deutsche Telekom AG will be using business telephones from voice, video and content collaboration services provider Polycom. The Polycom VVX Business Media Phones have been certified for the DeutschlandLAN Cloud PBX platform.

FRANCE

* Ubisoft may buy back up to 10% of its capital. The company said it has mandated investment services to repurchase up to 4 million shares from Oct. 5 to Dec. 29. The shares will be cancelled after repurchase.

* Iliad SA mandated several banks to prepare a seven-year bond placement amounting to about €500 million, Boursier.com reports, citing information obtained by Bloomberg News. The telecom operator has not been active in the bond market since 2015.

* Orange SA will recruit 500 more staff than planned, bringing the total number of new hires to 7,500 over the 2016-2018 period. The company said it will continue to welcome over 5,000 apprenticeships and 2,500 internships per year.

* Facebook set up a Developer's Circle in Lille, CB News reports. Lille is the second French city after Paris to be selected for the program, which allows developers to collaborate via offline events and a local online Facebook community.

NETHERLANDS, BELGIUM AND LUXEMBOURG

* Proximus said it has signed a fiber-to-the-home wholesale deal with edpnet NV, an independent telecom provider in Belgium. Under the agreement, edpnet can make use of Proximus' network and sell this access to its customers.

* Dutch provider Ziggo NV has blocked The Pirate Bay since Oct. 4, after a court in The Hague ruled that the provider had to terminate access to the torrent site, MediaMagazine reports. KPN NV unit XS4ALL Internet BV will also block the website this week. The blockades will last depending on a later final decision by the High Court.

* Netherlands-based Solid Finance Ventures invested an undisclosed amount in Amsterdam software company FieldBuddy, Emerce reports. Fieldbuddy, which was founded in 2013, has developed Salesforce-based field service solutions.

* Newspaper De Telegraaf terminated its contract with Blendle Premium, the subscription service from the digital kiosk, Het Parool reports. According to De Telegraaf, Blendle does not charge readers enough to read its articles. Earlier, newspaper NRC ended its contract with Blendle for the same reason.

NORDIC COUNTRIES

* Danish energy group SE announced that its acquisition of television distribution company Boxer TV A/S has been approved by the Danish Radio and Television Board, and will go ahead as planned. SE now owns two TV distribution companies, Boxer and Stofa A/S.

* Swedish search and directory company Eniro said that it has avoided bankruptcy for now, as its recapitalization plan has been approved by the bank consortium and the underwriting consortium. Eniro will now go through with a cash issue of class A ordinary shares, worth about 275 million Swedish kronor.

* The Swedish Competition Authority has decided not to proceed with Discovery Networks' case against Com Hem about abuse of market position, Affärsvärlden reports. The regulator said there is no sufficient reason to continue investigating the case, while also pointing out that Discovery and Com Hem have inked a new distribution agreement. Discovery Communications Inc. owns Discovery Networks.

SOUTHERN EUROPE

* Telecom Italia SpA began the sale process of its majority stake in broadcasting services provider Persidera, in a deal anticipated to be valued between €350 million to €400 million, Reuters reports, citing a source. Barclays, Credit Suisse and Lazard has reportedly been selected as advisors for the sale.

* Ericsson AB's Italian unit intends to lay off about an additional 600 employees on top of the about 300 workers originally announced, Corriere delle Comunicazioni reports. Italian trade unions have sought the intervention of the government on the matter.

* Ericsson is currently in talks with Basque IT services and engineering company Dominion for a potential creation of a joint venture that would offer fixed and mobile telecom networks in Spain, Telecompaper reports, citing the companies' statement to regulator CMNV. Dominion earlier completed its €55 million acquisition of Spanish telecom retail chain Phone House España.

* Italian regulator Agcom greenlit F2i and Marguerite's acquisition of a 94.12% stake in Infracom Italia SpA for about €57.8 million, from Abertis Group, Telecompaper reports. The private equity funds have jointly acquired controlling stakes in MC-link SpA and KPNQwest Italia SpA, which are anticipated to be integrated to Infracom.

EASTERN EUROPE

* Russia-linked Facebook ads are said to have targeted Michigan and Wisconsin, among others, CNN reports. Michigan and Wisconsin were pivotal to Trump's victory in the U.S. presidential elections.

* Hungarian telecom operator Magyar Telekom will cut about 350 jobs, with an estimated additional 160 staff to be terminated due to lower project resource needs, Reuters reports. Employees affected by the job cuts are anticipated to leave by the year's end. Meanwhile, the company agreed to a 5% wage hike by 2018.

* To make way for plans of a 50% expansion in the Yekaterinburg region, ER-Telecom Holding acquired fixed operator Akado-Yekaterinburg for an undisclosed amount, Telecompaper reports, citing Tdaily.ru. ER-Telecom is allotting about 8 billion Russian rubles on M&A activity this year.

* Mobile TeleSystems PJSC acquired a 50.82% stake in Cloud Retail, working under the Litebox brand, for 620 million Russian rubles, Telecompaper reports, citing Comnews.ru. The Russian operator intends to launch its MTS.Cash-Desk offering for small and medium-sized enterprises following the deal.

FEATURED NEWS

Rovio prices IPO; Spotify turns down Tencent's acquisition offer: In this monthly feature, S&P Global Market Intelligence provides a roundup of recent market developments in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland and Iceland.

FEATURED RESEARCH

Global Multichannel: DTH, mobile OTT to shape Philippine pay TV market: Rising digitization, demand for flexible viewing options, low fixed broadband penetration and a substantial share of low-income households are changing the Philippine multichannel market, boosting direct-to-home and mobile over-the-top services.

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.