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Norway approves Telia, Phonero deal; Amazon Business debuts in UK

TOP NEWS

* Norway's competition authority, Konkurransetilsynet, approved Telia Co. AB's purchase of mobile network operator Phonero A/S, e24.no reports. Konkurransetilsynet had earlier indicated that it might block the acquisition of Phonero.

* Amazon.com Inc. launched its Amazon Business marketplace in the U.K., which will sell office supplies, power tools, cleaning materials and lab equipment, Reuters reports. The platform, which would target businesses, universities, hospitals and charities, was previously launched in the U.S. and Germany.

UK AND IRELAND

* British media regulator Ofcom on April 3 officially assumed responsibility as the first external regulator of the British Broadcasting Corp. under the latter's new charter. Ofcom is tasked, among other things, to regulate and uphold the content standards of the BBC's TV, radio and on-demand programs, and monitor its effect on competition in the U.K.'s broadcasting market.

* BBC Worldwide Ltd. secured distribution deals for the Natural History series "Spy in the Wild," produced by John Downer Productions for BBC One (UK). The wildlife-themed program will be aired by, among others, Australia's Channel Nine, Germany's ZDF (DE), Estonia's ETV, Italy's RAI 1, Israel's IPBC, Norway's NRK, South Korea's Korean Broadcasting System, Telefónica SA's Movistar+ in Spain and Turkey's NTV.

* Ireland-based online video curator The QYOU completed a $7.3 million financing deal, which enabled its listing on the TSX Venture Exchange in Calgary, Canada, Digital TV Europe reports.

* The Irish government is set to reduce the number of homes to be covered in its national broadband rollout, which could again delay the program's expected completion by 2021, Dublin's Irish Independent reports. The government will reportedly accept Eir Group plc's promise to build new broadband connections to 300,000 rural households, which would not be included in the 800,000 homes eyed by the government's own subsidized rollout.

GERMANY, SWITZERLAND AND AUSTRIA

* ProSiebenSat.1 Media SE and Constantin Film renewed a licensing deal under which films produced in 2017 and 2018 by Constantin Film will be broadcast by ProSiebenSat.1 stations, according to a news release. The deal includes the third and final part of the series "Fack Ju Gohte."

* German public broadcaster ARD launched an editorial project where journalists will seek out fake news online and explain them, according to a video on its website. ARD had declined an earlier offer by Facebook to collaborate in its anti-fake news initiative, DWDL reports.

* German mobile data company Adsquare is collaborating with data service company Microm to collect data for more targeted advertising, Horizont reports. It will be carried out on an anonymous basis in residential areas and used for direct marketing, as well as in Facebook Inc. and Google Inc.'s Google AdWords.

* National Geographic has revamped its digital offering in Germany, DWDL reports. Under nationalgeographic.de, it will make both print and television content available under the National Geographic brand.

* MySports, by Swiss cable network UPC Schweiz, appointed Steffi Buchli as director of programming and presenter, according to a news release. She joins UPC from Swiss Television.

FRANCE

* France Télévisions SA signed multiyear investment agreements related to animation, documentaries and the performing arts with SATEV, SPI, SPECT, SPFA and USPA. The agreements are part of France Télévisions' commitment to offer creative programs supported by partnerships with independent producers.

* Internet TV app Molotov is looking to expand its international service, according to a news release. Molotov has exceeded 1 million users, six months after its launch in France.

* "Riviera," the first co-production between Sky Vision and Altice, made its world premier at the MIPTV 2017 conference in Cannes. The partnership is part of Altice's plan to develop original series and launch a new pay TV lineup in the summer.

* Orange SA launched SIdO, a partnership program with manufacturers of connected objects, to help with which IoT objects to produce and to ensure these meet Orange's requirements in terms of quality, security, connectivity and usage conditions. Orange has currently sealed deals with 20 connected objects manufacturers.

NETHERLANDS, BELGIUM AND LUXEMBOURG

* The European Commission has released its decision concerning the approval of the joint venture between Vodafone Group Plc's Vodafone Nederland and Liberty Global plc's Ziggo NV, eight months after the merger was approved, MediaMagazine reports. Publication of the decision has long been stopped by the two companies, as the documents would include sensitive company information.

* VEON, formerly VimpelCom, will be listing and trading shares on Euronext Amsterdam from April 4, according to an official statement. According to VEON, which is headquartered in the Dutch capital, the listing on Euronext Amsterdam provides an opportunity to broaden its access to Eurozone capital markets.

* Telegraaf Media Groep NV achieved a profit of €1.6 million in 2016, compared to a loss of €23.6 million in 2015, according to the company's annual report. TMG's revenues declined by 6.9% to €421 million as a result of decreasing sales from subscriptions and print advertising.

NORDIC COUNTRIES

* Telia's sale of Tcell is invalidated because competition authorities in Tajikistan have failed to respond within the stipulated time frame, Dagens Industri reports. Telia had agreed to sell its 60% stake in Tcell to Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development.

* Nokia Corp.'s Nokia Solutions and Networks Oy secured 90.51% of all shares in digital and cloud solutions firm Comptel Corp., Kauppalehti reports. Nokia plans to extend the bid period to give remaining shareholders time to accept its tender offer.

* Telia reached a deal with Övik Energi AB that will enable it to deliver TV, broadband and telephony services over Övik’s fiber grid network, Övik said in a statement. Övik's fiber grid has 10,000 customers in Sweden's Örnsköldsvik region.

SOUTHERN EUROPE

* Vivendi SA is looking to reduce Telecom Italia SpA's board members from 16 to 15 as the French company's CEO Arnaud de Puyfontaine remains in a favorable position to be appointed as Telecom Italia chairman, Mobile World Live reports, citing La Repubblica. Telecom Italia CEO Flavio Cattaneo is expected to join the list of the members that Vivendi will recommend to the board. Vivendi is expected to endorse these changes before April 10.

* Luis Nascimento is stepping down as a director on PT Portugal's board, Telecompaper reports, citing Dinheiro Vivo. Nascimento is reportedly leaving the company for personal reasons. Altice NV owns PT Portugal.

* Telefónica's Movistar+ has chosen About Premium Content, BetaFilm and Sky plc's Sky Vision to take charge of the distribution of its three new drama shows "Gigantes," "La Zona" and "La Peste," respectively, TBI Vision reports.

* Türk Telekomünikasyon AS is extending the maturity date of its $100 million loan from Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi UFJ for three more years, Reuters reports. The loan was supposed to mature on March 31.

EASTERN EUROPE

* Russia's NTV Broadcasting Co. tapped French media service provider Globecast to broadcast the NTV Mir TV channel via cable and direct-to-home in Europe, Broadband TV News reports. Globecast will use Eutelsat Communications SA's Hot Bird satellite at 13 degrees East to broadcast the channel.

* Romania Cable Systems & Romania Data Systems-owned platform Digi TV added Cinemax and Cinemax 2 to its channel lineup for subscribers of its online platform Digi2Go and DTH service Nova Digi TV, Broadband TV News reports. The TV Lux channel will also be added to its Nova Digi TV lineup on April 4.

* About 16 Polish cable operators complained that a number of TV broadcasters have forced them into getting into agreements and taking program packages from them, Broadband TV News reports, citing Wirtualne Media. The operators warned that they will withdraw from some agreements and look into referring the situation to competition authority Office of Competition and Consumer Protection, or UOKiK.

FEATURED NEWS

M&A Replay: European deals through March 31: AMC Entertainment, Sky, Nokia: S&P Global Market Intelligence provides a wrap-up of European media and communications deal announcements, completions and updates from March 27 to March 31.

Q&A: Digital marketing exec: Branded apps 'a huge waste of money': Robin Bade, U.K. CEO, regional director Europe and global client lead at digital marketing agency Mirum, sat down with S&P Global Market Intelligence to make sense of the rapidly changing mobile landscape.

FEATURED RESEARCH

Economics of Internet: US e-commerce sector sizzles in 2016: E-commerce sales in the U.S. continued their steady upward climb in 2016, with more gains likely in 2017 and beyond as sales continue to shift away from traditional retail channels.

Economics of Internet: Facebook Messenger, Snapchat fuel growth in US messaging market: Mobile messaging services had another year of solid growth in the U.S., primarily fueled by Facebook Messenger and Snapchat.

Amanda Kelly, Stefanie Eschenbacher, Charlotte van Hek and Gerard O'Dwyer contributed to this report. The Daily Dose has an editorial deadline of 7 a.m. London time. Some external links may require a subscription.