* KKR & Co. Inc. closed its public tender offer for German media company Axel Springer SE, after getting the final outstanding regulatory clearance for the deal. The private equity firm secured 44.28% of Axel Springer's share capital and voting rights from shareholders and through additional market purchases.
* Tens of thousands of political ads went missing from Facebook Inc.'s public archive on Dec. 10, ahead of the upcoming general election on Dec. 12, London's Financial Times reports. The advertisements dropped to less than 120,000 from a little under 180,000 advertisements on Dec. 5. The total number of ads include advertisements shown on Instagram.
* Nordic Entertainment Group AB announced that it reduced the overall size of its workforce under a new operating model. The company estimates that it will achieve payroll savings of 250 million Swedish kronor, with the majority of the expected savings to occur in 2020.
* The European Commission approved the allocation of €400 million worth of state aid to fund the rollout of very high-speed broadband networks in Spain. The project involves the deployment of networks that can deliver upload and download speeds of 300 Mbps, and which can be upgraded to 1 Gbps.
* The European Union antitrust regulators may impose "more prescriptive and possibly restorative remedies" to force technology giants to do more to ensure a fair environment, Reuters reports, quoting European Commission Deputy Director-General Cecilio Madero Villarejo as saying.
UK AND IRELAND
* Sony Pictures Television Inc. acquired Silvergate Media Holdings Ltd., which develops, produces and licenses children's animation, from Silvergate's management team and from private equity firm Shamrock Capital Advisors LLC. Under the deal, Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc., through a wholly owned subsidiary, acquired 100% of Silvergate Topco Ltd., whose assets include Silvergate's 49% interest in a joint venture with Dalian Wanda Group Co. Ltd., which holds the rights to "Octonauts."
* Discovery Inc. and Channel 4 (UK) will co-produce a U.S. version of the British documentary series "24 Hours in Police Custody," Deadline reports. The U.S. version, with a working title "24 Hours In Police Custody USA" will air on the Investigation Discovery channel in the U.S. and on U.K.'s Channel 4.
* The British government is mulling whether to decriminalize the penalty for not paying the British Broadcasting Corp.'s TV license fee, Reuters reports, citing the BBC Radio's interview with Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice Robert Buckland. The statement comes after U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson expressed plans to look into the TV license fees.
* Vodafone Group PLC's voting rights totals to 26,768,442,898 ordinary shares as of Sept. 30, the company said in a filing. The British operator's issued share capital consists of 28,815,909,018 ordinary shares, wherein 2,047,466,120 ordinary shares are held in Treasury.
GERMANY, SWITZERLAND AND AUSTRIA
* Amazon.com Inc.'s Prime Video secured the broadcasting rights for the European soccer Champions League held in Germany 2021 and 2022, reports Handelsblatt. Football fans will be able to view games as early as 2021.
* German media group Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland GmbH will be bundling its fictional competencies for linear TV, effective Jan. 1, 2020. Frauke Neeb and Hauke Bartel will become the new heads of fictional offerings.
* Swiss online magazine Republik will need to make CHF 2.2 million and 19,000 subscribers by March 2020 to continue its operations, reports Der Standard. Should the company not reach its goals, it will be terminating its staff by March 31, 2020.
* Deutsche Telekom AG plans to launch about 1,500 5G antennas by the end of 2020, reports PC Welt. By the end of 2019, the company will transmit 5G via 450 antennas.
* Philipp Steffens will be leaving as head of fiction at German broadcaster RTL Group SA, reports DWDL. The new head of RTL Jörg Graf plans to produce more projects.
* Vivendi SA's STUDIOCANAL SA appointed Anna Marsh as its managing director, replacing Didier Lupfer, who is leaving the group.
* Viacom Inc.'s Viacom Networks France and Molotov SA signed a multiannual distribution deal for an undisclosed amount. Viacom's channels will incorporate the pay TV packages of Molotov, while Molotov users will benefit from all Viacom channels, as well as Molotov-specific features such as start over, cloud DVR and mobility all over the European Union.
* French channel Arte launched a full-scale 4K UHD HDR channel, in partnership with Technicolor SA, ATEME SA, Cobalt and Philips, reports HD-Numérique. ARTE HDR is intended exclusively for HDR compatible TVs and smartphones and is currently available via Iliad SA's Free and Molotov.tv.
* Orange Digital Ventures announced it is leading a €22 million financing round in InterCloud SAS, which offers a fully managed software defined cloud applications interconnection. The investment includes three new investors, Open CNP, Ul Invest ApS and Weber Invest, as well as returning investors CapHorn Invest - Société de Gestion, Ventech SA, Hi Inov SAS, SNCF Digital Ventures and BPI France.
* The city of Cuges-les-Pins and Altice France SA's SFR organized an information point on the deployment of fiber optics in the municipality of Bernard Destrost. The neighborhood, with 2,475 access points in the municipality, will have access to the speed and performance of the fibre by the end of 2020. Altice Europe owns Altice France.
* Banijay Group SAS' Asian unit is teaming up with The Natural Studios, a joint venture between Bear Grylls, Delbert Shoopman and Banijay, to bring adventure programming to Southeast Asia and India. According to TBI Vision, the collaboration will see the companies producing long- and short-form content for both local and global platforms.
NETHERLANDS, BELGIUM AND LUXEMBOURG
* DPG Media NV announced it will acquire Sanoma Oyj unit Sanoma Media Netherlands BV, which owns popular magazines such as Libelle, Margriet and Donald Duck, as well as news site Nu.nl, for a takeover price of €460 million. The transaction is still subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to be completed at the latest during third quarter 2020.
* Vodafone Nederland will be shutting down its 3G internet connection permanently from February 2020 to make more capacity available for the faster and more stable 4G internet, Vodafoneziggo reports. According to the company, the extra capacity is needed because of the "rapidly increasing data consumption of customers" on the 4G network.
* Jan Nooitgedagt stepped down as chairman of the supervisory board at publisher Mediahuis NV, reports Villamedia. Nooitgedagt has been an independent member of Mediahuis' board since 2013 and has been its chairman for the last two-and-a-half years.
* TV4 AB extended its distribution agreement with Tele2 AB and Com Hem AB to Jan. 10, 2020, writes Dagens Industri. Tele2 wants to negotiate a longer-term agreement directly with TV4's parent company Bonnier Broadcasting AB.
* Eltel AB reached a three-year telecom frame deal with Telenor ASA in Sweden, said Eltel. Worth €17 million, the agreement covers installations, service and maintenance works on Telenor's fixed and mobile networks.
* Telenor Denmark said it exceeded a speed of 1 Gbps in its first call made over a 5G network in Denmark using Nokia Corp. equipment. Telenor commenced 5G trials at its Danish 5G test station in Aalborg in June.
* Finland will offer EU citizens free access to an online artificial intelligence-related study course in 2020-2021, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said. The course, which is being made available in all of the EU's official languages, aims to give students a basic understanding of AI.
* Orange SA remained on top of Netflix Inc.'s internet speed index in November with an average speed of 4.75 Mbps, Telecompaper reports. Vodafone España SAU and Telefónica SA's Movistar ranked second and third, respectively.
* Vodafone Turkey named Thibaud Rerolle vice president in charge of technology on its executive board, Telecompaper reports. Rerolle has been chief technology officer at Vodafone Group's majority-owned Kenyan operator Safaricom PLC.
* Boston-based buyout firm Bain Capital LP is in the final stages of talks to acquire a stake in Engineering Ingegneria Informatica SpA in a deal that could value the Rome-based IT service provider at more than €1.5 billion, Reuters reported, citing four sources familiar with the matter. London-based private equity firm Apax Partners LLP, which jointly owns an 88% interest in Engineering with investment platform NB Renaissance Partners, is reportedly selling the stake.
* Tele2 Russia Telecom targets to launch LTE services on all of its base stations that support GSM and 3G by year-end, Telecompaper reports, citing Tdaily.ru.
* VTB Bank PJSC is expected to invest up to 2.5 billion Russian rubles in the launch of a universal application for its new IT platform Lifestyle, Telecompaper reports, citing Cnews.ru. The Russian bank is eyeing tie-ups with companies such as Rostelecom PJSC and Tele2 Russia Telecom for the app.
* T-Mobile Polska SA struck a deal to access the fiber network of Polish cable operator Inea, Telecompaper reports. The partnership will also see INEA SA installing and maintaining T-Mobile Polska's fixed services.
* Poland's Office of Electronic Communications began public consultations on a planned 5G spectrum auction, Telecompaper reports.
5G Focus: US rural funding; Dutch auction; Verizon/Amazon tie-up: 5G Focus is a weekly global feature including notable 5G trials, launches, use cases and major equipment supply contracts. It also features in-depth analysis of strategies, expansion plans, business models and other related initiatives.
Global Multichannel: 2019 LatAm groups report: Millicom strengthens in Central America: Over the past 12 months, a series of acquisitions has allowed Millicom to gain convergent capabilities in Central America. However, the group's financial leverage jumped due to debt used in the acquisitions.
Anne Freier, Amanda Kelly, Charlotte van Hek and Gerard O'Dwyer contributed to this report.
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