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Cambridge Analytica ruling; Ericsson settlement; Facebook's Hungarian fine

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Investment Banking Essentials: February 21

Cambridge Analytica ruling; Ericsson settlement; Facebook's Hungarian fine


* The U.S. Federal Trade Commission voted 5-0 to issue an opinion finding that U.K.-based Cambridge Analytica LLC engaged in deceptive practices to harvest personal information from tens of millions of Facebook Inc. users for voter profiling and targeting. The FTC found that the data analytics and consulting company also engaged in deceptive practices relating to its participation in the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield framework.

* Swedish telecommunications company Ericsson agreed to pay $1.06 billion to settle U.S. federal investigations into the company's compliance with the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. The company will pay $520.6 million as part of its settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice and $539.9 million under a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

* The Hungarian antitrust watchdog imposed a fine of 1.2 billion Hungarian forints on Facebook for violating local advertising laws, Reuters reports, citing a statement. The regulator said the social media company's ads on its front page and help center misled users to think its services were free.


* ViacomCBS-owned streaming service Pluto TV appointed Guillaume Rosier director of business development and partnerships for Europe, TBI Vision reports. Rosier most recently was an executive at Vivendi SA-backed streaming provider Dailymotion SA.


* Pay TV company Sky Ltd. struck a deal to add content from ViacomCBS-owned broadcaster Channel 5 (UK) to its Sky Box sets and the Entertainment Pass for its on-demand streaming service NOW TV.

* WPP AUNZ Ltd. sold its stake in the Kantar Australian and New Zealand businesses to WPP PLC. This comes as U.S.-based private equity company Bain Capital LP completed its purchase of a 60% stake in The Kantar Group Ltd. from the U.K.-based advertising group.

* ViacomCBS Inc.'s Network Ten Pty. Ltd. co-ordered drama thriller "Breathless" with Channel 5, Deadline reports. Produced by FremantleMedia Group Ltd., the four-part series will start filming in Melbourne at the start of 2020.

* Vodafone Group PLC launched half-sized mobile SIM card holders in a bid to minimize its plastic waste. The telco will also roll out eco-friendly accessories in its retail stores by Christmas.


* Austrian sensor specialist ams AG succeeded in its €41-per-share takeover bid for German lighting company OSRAM Licht AG, acquiring more than the minimum 55% of Osram shares required for acceptance. The transaction is expected to close in the first half of 2020.

* Ringier AG's proposed digital channel Blick TV will be launched by February 2020, Neue Zuercher Zeitung am Sontag reports. The Swiss media company believes Blick TV's launch should help make its business profitable within three years.

* German Digitization Minister Dorothee Bär plans to prohibit the use of sensitive data from children and youth for advertising purposes, Handelsblatt reports. Bär said children would need additional protection from online harms.


* France rejected a U.S. suggestion for companies to opt out of international tax reforms, Reuters reports. The proposal will grant governments more power to tax big multinational countries in the country where the end client is based. A final deal is expected in late 2020.

* Orange SA signed a €700 million loan with the European Investment Bank to partially fund the deployment of its Very High Speed Broadband network in France. The loan's first drawdown of €350 million has been released, with the remainder to be made available in 2020.

* Radio France co-signed a Charter on the Representation of Persons with Disabilities with electronic media watchdog Conseil supérieur de l'audiovisuel and other government agencies. The move confirms the broadcaster's commitment to a better representation of disability in the media.


* Dutch operator KPN NV plans to connect 320,000 households in Amsterdam to a fiber-optic network, starting with the districts of Amsterdam-Noord and Buitenveldert in the first quarter of 2020. Currently, more than 90,000 households are already connected to KPN's fiber network.

* Facebook appealed a Dutch court's ruling over a case of fake ads that used the name and likeness of media magnate John de Mol, saying the decision raises technical and legal issues, reports. The court warned of penalties worth €1.1 million if Facebook does not actively counteract the ads.

* Frank Volmer will replace RTL Nederland Chief Commercial Officer Ton Rozestraten as chairman of Screenforce, the marketing organization of the Dutch TV channels, Villamedia reports. Volmer is currently managing director at STER, the agency responsible for the broadcast of radio and television ads on public broadcaster NPO.


* Networking services company InCoax Networks AB reached a reseller deal for its In:xtnd product line-up with ELPA TV and Bredbandsteknik AB. The deal will result in ELPA including In:xtnd to its portfolio of broadband network services for buildings in Sweden.

* Cybersecurity company Advenica AB secured a new contract worth 6.5 million Swedish kronor from an unnamed "Swedish authority," with deliveries due to commence immediately.

* Telenor ASA achieved maximum speeds of 1.7 Gbps in 5G tests via the 3.5 GHz band on its Swedish network. The trials were conducted at Telenor's country headquarters in Solna, Sweden.


* Telefónica SA will tap a second equipment vendor in 2020 to support the rollout of its 5G network in Spain, Reuters reports, citing a company spokesman. The telco, however, will still purchase some of the core 5G equipment from Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd.

* Telefónica's pay TV platform Movistar+ will broadcast the Supercopa de España soccer matches in Spain for the next three seasons, Digital TV Europe reports. Movistar+ stepped in after other sports broadcasters did not bid for the rights to the games, which will be hosted by Saudi Arabia under a decision by the Real Federación Española de Fútbol.

* Mobile operator Turkcell Iletisim Hizmetleri AS struck a memorandum of understanding with China Development Bank for an eight-year term loan worth €500 million. The new loan will be used to finance the procurement of hardware and equipment from Chinese vendors.


* Russian tech company Yandex NV struck a scripted content deal with BBC Studios Ltd. The deal will allow Yandex's online cinema platform KinoPoisk to add more than 100 hours of drama, comedy and children's content from the British Broadcasting Corp. unit from 2020.

* The Russian foreign ministry described new U.S. sanctions against Russian individuals and firms over supposed cyber crimes as a "propaganda attack," Reuters reports, citing a statement. U.S. officials targeted Evil Corp., an alleged Russian cybercrime group involved in a $100 million digital crime spree.


Data Dispatch: Box office turnstiles to remain sleepy despite toy parade: "Frozen II" did what it could to revive a slumping domestic box office, but the weekend of Dec. 6 is not expected to offer much relief or competition with its sole debut film, "Playmobil: The Movie."


Wireless Investor: Belgium regulators not buying the 5G hype: While carriers in many developed markets have been focused on their 5G rollouts, Belgium has halted 5G due to the country's radiation standards.

Economics of Internet: See it in charts: US, international OTT, November 2019: View U.S. and international over-the-top video trends at a glance in PowerPoint format. Key charts summarize the status of subscription video, ad-supported video, video advertising and other top sector trends.

Anne Freier, Amanda Kelly, Charlotte van Hek and Gerard O'Dwyer contributed to this report.

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