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Telenor revamps top management; Ericsson, Liberty Global extend partnership

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Telenor revamps top management; Ericsson, Liberty Global extend partnership

TOP NEWS

* Telenor ASA said Berit Svendsen is stepping down as CEO of Telenor Norway and head of the telecom group's Scandinavian cluster. Petter Furberg has been appointed CEO of Telenor Norway, and Kaaren Hilsen as CEO of Telenor Sweden. Morten Karlsen Sørby was appointed acting cluster head of Scandinavia. Svendsen has been CEO of Telenor Norway for seven years.

* Ericsson has extended its partnership with Liberty Global PLC. The new contract builds on the existing managed services contract in Poland, Hungary and Austria, and includes transfer of services functions in the U.K., Ireland and the Netherlands.

PAN-EUROPEAN

* RTL Group-owned video advertising platform SpotX Inc. has selected Edward Wale as its new managing director for Spain and the U.K., Advanced Television reports. Wale's new role follows Léon Siotis' appointment as the company's general manager of supply in Europe.

UK AND IRELAND

* Scottish public broadcaster STV Group PLC has struck a four-year strategic deal with Virgin Media Inc., the companies said. Under the partnership, the STV Player and STV's catch-up content will be made available on Virgin Media's set-top boxes. The Liberty Global unit will also broadcast STV in HD to all cable subscribers reached by STV in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dundee.

* WPP PLC's newly appointed CEO Mark Read has ruled out a possible break-up of the advertising conglomerate, following concerns about the company's complicated structure, London's The Daily Telegraph reports. Read said his focus will be more on simplifying WPP's internal structure.

* The British and U.S. governments warned of forcing messaging platforms such as WhatsApp Inc. to grant them "backdoor access" to encrypted text services via the introduction of new laws, The Daily Telegraph reports. Such "backdoors" will reportedly enable law enforcement officials to unlock a suspect's encrypted messages.

GERMANY, SWITZERLAND AND AUSTRIA

* Radio station MDR Aktuell, owned by German broadcaster Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk, has reworked its news app in an effort to expand its audience reach.

* Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland GmbH's Ultra HD channels will be available soon via Sky Deutschland GmbH, a company spokesperson confirmed to DWDL.

* Media and digital marketing communications company Dentsu Aegis Network Ltd. is among the first to use the new booking interface by German media group ARD advertising SALES & SERVICES, a unit of German broadcaster ARD.

FRANCE

* French Minister of Culture Françoise Nyssen wishes to conclude the overhaul of media chronology regulations as soon as possible, Le Figaro reports. A meeting with the main industry players was held Sept. 3 on the new regulation, setting deadlines for the distribution of a film on DVD, television and video platforms.

* Canal Plus SA Chairman Maxime Saada said the Vivendi SA unit is in talks with RMC Sport to distribute Champions League soccer, Univers Freebox reports. The tournament, as well as the Europa League, is set to be broadcast exclusively via SFR's channels starting in two weeks.

NETHERLANDS, BELGIUM AND LUXEMBOURG

* Tele2 Netherlands has launched Hosted Voice Light for small businesses as a complement to its existing fixed mobile offer for business. Hosted Voice Light for small businesses should function as a replacement for services based on Integrated Services Digital Network standards, which will be phased out in September 2019.

* KPN NV launched WiFi Tuner, a new online tool for customers to determine their Wi-Fi coverage quality at home, Telecompaper reports. The tool should help customers improve their coverage.

* Flemish radio channel NRJ launched on the FM band in large areas in Flanders after pilot internet broadcasts started in August, Media Magazine reports. NRJ, owned jointly by Mediahuis NV and De Vijver Media NV, plans to start broadcasting on ether by the middle of 2019.

* The service malfunction at Ziggo NV which started during the weekend has not yet been resolved, Nu.nl reports. Ziggo's video-on-demand service has been inaccessible for two days, and also the customer service and program replay function are troubled by issues.

NORDIC COUNTRIES

* Swedish media group Bonnier AB has announced drastic changes to its business structure. The company will be split up, and the different business units will become independent companies. Group company Bonnier AB and parent company Bonnier Holding AB will be merged and reduced in scope and size. Bonnier Holding CEO Erik Haegerstrand will continue as CEO of the merged company, while Bonnier AB CEO Tomas Frantzén will continue as chairman of Bonnier News, Bonnier Broadcasting and the Adlibris group.

* Bonnier also said its business-to-business unit is acquiring Danish health portal Netdoktor. Bonnier said the acquisition strengthens its position in digital health publishing.

* Telia Co. AB said it is starting to retire its 2G and 3G networks, in order to migrate to 4G and 5G technology. Telia Norway is the first unit out, and it plans to start phasing out its 3G network at the end of 2018. Closure plans for other countries will be announced in the future.

SOUTHERN EUROPE

* Eleven Sports Network Ltd. announced that it has selected Jorge Pavão de Sousa to become the company's managing director for Portugal. De Sousa will be in charge of expanding the company's growth and developing partnerships in Portugal.

* Singapore's GIC Pvt. Ltd. and the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority are seeking for an extension for the review period of their acquisition of Cellnex Telecom SA's stake from Edizione Srl, Telecompaper reports, citing Il Sole 24 Ore. The sovereign wealth funds were in talks for an acquisition of a 30%-40% stake in ConnecT, which holds a stake in Cellnex, for €600 million.

EASTERN EUROPE

* DIGI Czech Republic sro has pulled out AMC Networks Inc.'s channels from its lineup after the companies failed to reach an agreement, Broadband TV News reports. DIGI has replaced the AMC channels with new sets of channels, and effective Oct. 1, will also convert all Nova channels to HD.

* Zsolt Sárecz has been appointed as the CEO of alternative operator Antenna Hungária Zrt., effective Sept. 1, Broadband TV News reports. Sárecz is replacing András Kápolnai.

FEATURED NEWS

M&A Replay: EC approves Hutchison's Wind Tre buyout; Vectra revives Multimedia Polska bid: The European Commission approved CK Hutchison's purchase of VEON's 50% stake in Italian operator Wind Tre, while Polish cable operator Vectra has notified regulator UOKiK of its renewed bid to acquire Multimedia Polska.

Data Dispatch: Mobile operators around the world face uphill struggle to lift ARPU: In spite of the explosive growth in the use of smartphones in recent years, mobile operators across the globe are struggling to improve their average revenue per user, or ARPU.

Anne Freier, Sylvia Edwards Davis, Koen Pijnappels and Esben Svendsen contributed to this report.

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