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Airtel Africa eyes $750M London IPO; Twitter buys machine-learning startup

TOP NEWS

* Airtel Africa Ltd. has confirmed its plan to proceed with an IPO on the London Stock Exchange and expects to raise about $750 million. The number of shares to be sold and the price range will be announced in the coming weeks.

* Twitter Inc. has acquired London-based machine learning startup Fabula AI Ltd. for an undisclosed amount. Fabula's employees will join the staff at Twitter Cortex, an organization within the social media company that focuses on machine learning.

* British telecom operator KCOM Group PLC has dropped an acquisition offer of about £504 million from Humber Bidco Ltd., an indirect unit of Universities Superannuation Scheme Ltd. KCOM has instead recommended a higher cash offer from MEIF 6 Fibre Ltd., an investment fund managed by Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets (Europe) Ltd. The investment fund's offer pegs KCOM's aggregate value at £563 million.

* The regulation of artificial intelligence is coming and will encompass liability and damages, European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, Vera Jourová said during a keynote at the University College London European Institute on June 3. However, legislation might not materialize for a few years as Europe tries to balance AI investment with regulation.

PAN-EUROPEAN

* The European Union's antitrust regulators will make a decision on Spotify Technology SA's complaint against Apple Inc. after getting a statement from the U.S.-based technology company, Reuters reports, citing a statement from European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager.

* The European Commission said it approved the creation of a ride-hailing joint venture between Volkswagen AG unit Volkswagen Finance Luxembourg SA, MobilEye Vision Technologies Ltd. and Champion Motors Ltd. The venture will focus on operating a ride-hailing service in Israel that involves a fleet of self-driving vehicles.

UK AND IRELAND

* The British government "takes careful notice" of the U.S.' advise against using Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd.'s equipment, Reuters reports, citing BBC Radio's interview with U.K. Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt. The U.K. is yet to make a final decision on whether it will ban the Chinese equipment maker in the country and is looking into both technical and strategic issues, the executive said.

* The British Broadcasting Corp.'s BBC Sport Northern Ireland will provide a live broadcast of Ireland Women's Hockey team's matches at the FIH Series Finals, according to a news release.

GERMANY, SWITZERLAND AND AUSTRIA

* The Swiss Competition Commission has launched an in-depth review of Sunrise Communications Group AG's planned CHF 6.3 billion acquisition of Liberty Global PLC unit UPC Schweiz, according to a news release. Sunrise expects a regulatory decision by the beginning of October and targets to complete the deal in the fourth quarter. Freenet AG, a majority shareholder in Sunrise, hired American investment bank Citi Bank to explore a better deal, reports Finanz und Wirtschaft.

* Artificial Solutions International AB said it has entered a language-solutions focused partnership with Swisscom AG for the delivery of advanced natural language solutions to the Swiss operator's employees, customers and corporate clients.

* An estimated 59.9% majority stake in German specialist publisher Motor Presse Stuttgart GmbH & Co. KG will be acquired by Patricia Scholten and Peter-Paul Pietsch, successors of the founding family. The stake acquisition comes after Gruner + Jahr Ltd. announced the planned sale of the share. The deal will require the approval of the Austrian cartel authority.

* German commercial broadcaster SUPER RTL (DE) will be broadcasting its kids TV channels TOGGO and Toggolino without the brand addition "von Super RTL" in an effort to distinguish the programming from Super RTL's prime-time programming. Super RTL said its TOGGO and Toggolino brands were strong enough to be broadcast without the brand addition.

* Constantin Medien AG will be renamed as Sport1 Medien AG as of 2020, according to Welt. The name change will be concluded at the company's upcoming board meeting.

FRANCE

* Vivendi SA announced that Canal Plus Group SA has launched an ephemeral event channel, Deutsche Grammophon +, which will feature exclusive classical music concerts. All Canal Plus subscribers will have access to channel 19 until July 4, and will remain available on Deutsche Grammophon + via myCanal thereafter.

* The city of Saint-Victoret and Altice France SA's SFR have organized a meeting to explain the deployment of fiber in the area. With about 2,150 outlets already eligible, more than a third of the households in the town can already connect to the fiber network, and nearly 100 more homes will be connected this year. Altice France is a unit of Altice Europe.

* Radio France Internationale SA aims to achieve about €60 million in savings by 2022, including about €25 million, through a new agreement with its employees, according to CB News.

NETHERLANDS, BELGIUM AND LUXEMBOURG

* Kinnevik AB is offering to sell 11 million shares in Luxembourg-based telecom operator Millicom International Cellular SA, according to a statement. The Swedish investment fund also granted its underwriters the option to acquire up to 1.65 million of its shares in Millicom within 30 days from the offering date.

* Telenet said it has informed its customers that it will raise tariffs of fixed and mobile monthly subscriptions by 1.87% on Aug. 4, in line with inflation. The price increase will reportedly be applied to all services except the Play entertainment bundles, fixed telephone subscriptions and out-of-bundle tariffs.

* Dutch satellite radio and TV provider Joyne BV said it has no plans to quit and will continue its services, a decision based on market evaluation, TotaalTV reports. At the August 2017 launch of Joyne, it was reportedly announced that the company's market position in the consumer and business would be evaluated after two years.

* Media companies De Persgroep NV and Telegraaf Media Groep NV are planning a joint venture for a market platform for used cars, checkups and information, Emerce reports. The joint venture, named Automotive Mediaventions, should replace De Persgroep's AutoTrack.nl and TMG's Gaspedaal.nl and will be owned 51% by De Persgroep and 49% by TMG.

NORDIC COUNTRIES

* Vodafone Idea Ltd. CEO Balesh Sharma announced that the telco will work with Sweden-based Ericsson and China's Huawei for 5G-led field trials while dropping Finland's Nokia Corp. for the process, The Economic Times of India reports.

* Etteplan Oyj has formed an LTE/4G-area partnership with Nokia Corp. and Ukkoverkot Oy. The collaboration will focus on providing solutions based on private LTE/4G to industrial customers looking to establish private wireless networks.

* Ecodatacenter AB will formalize the deal to merge with Fortlax AB by acquiring all shares in the company. EDC plans to grow within the climate-smart data center domain.

* Tele2 AB (publ) has reached an agreement with operator Bite to develop a network sharing joint venture in Latvia and Lithuania. The partnership will cover infrastructure sharing in existing networks, spectrum sharing in addition to the future build-out of 5G.

SOUTHERN EUROPE

* Telefónica SA's pay TV platform Movistar has rolled out its new over-the-top service worth €8 per month, Advanced Television reports. The new service does not require any contract and will carry Movistar's in-house channels like #0, #Vamos, Movistar Series and Movistar Seriesmania.

* Europa Way, formerly Europa 7, is eyeing the launch of a new pay TV platform named Fly HD in September, Advanced Television reports. The Italian broadcaster's new service will rely on the DVB-T2 standard under Mediaset SpA's technology platform R2 Srl.

* Telecom Italia SpA CFO Giovanni Ronca acquired 150,000 ordinary shares in the Italian telco for an undisclosed sum, according to a news release.

EASTERN EUROPE

* General Atlantic Service Co. LP bought a majority interest, worth approximately £100 million, in Czech online travel agency Kiwi.com s.r.o., Reuters reports. The deal would see several financial investors exit their investments in Kiwi.com.

* Russian telecom and media watchdog Roskomnadzor has ordered dating app Tinder Inc. to hand over its users' data and messages to local law enforcement agencies on demand, Reuters reports. The order means Tinder must store user data on local servers in Russia for at least six months. Tinder is a unit of IAC/InterActiveCorp's Match Group Inc.

* Orange Polska SA CEO Jean-François Fallacher has warned that a ban on Huawei from Poland's 5G networks could lead to higher service costs and delays in rolling out the technology, Reuters reports. Fallacher, meanwhile, refused to reveal how much the Orange SA unit would invest in 5G development.

* The government of Bosnia & Herzegovina retained Vilim Primorac as HT Eronet's management board president and director, giving him a new four-year term, Telecompaper reports. Goran Kraljevic will also remain as the telco's executive director.

* The Ukrainian parliament named Maxim Onoprienko as a member of the National Council, the country's broadcasting regulator, Broadband TV News reports. Onoprienko has been director general of broadcaster TV5 since August 2014.

FEATURED NEWS

The Week Ahead Europe: Europe's plans for AI regulation take shape: Artificial intelligence is on the agenda at three events across Europe this week as policymakers and tech companies weigh its implications.

FEATURED RESEARCH

The Best Of: Kagan research and analysis, editor's picks: Presenting the editor's top picks from Kagan's exclusive research and analysis for the week ended May 31.

Anne Freier, Amanda Kelly, Koen Pijnappels 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. Links are current as of publication time, and we are not responsible if those links are unavailable later.