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Orange plans 'French Hulu;' Deutsche Telekom retains CEO

TOP NEWS

* Orange SA is planning a "French-style" Hulu LLC, Les Echos reports. Chairman and CEO Stéphane Richard said Orange is in talks with France Télévisions SA, Groupe M6 and TF1 Group for a joint subscription video-on-demand portal that could include other European broadcasters such as RAI and the British Broadcasting Corp.

* Deutsche Telekom AG's supervisory board extended CEO Timotheus Höttges' contract for another five years. Christian Illek, currently chief human resources officer, will take over as CFO in January 2019 from Thomas Dannenfeldt, who will leave the company for private reasons by 2018-end.

* Italian tax police raided Telecom Italia's headquarters in Rome in line with an antitrust investigation on fiber-optic network operations and pricing in rural areas, Reuters reports, citing a source. Italy's antitrust regulator Agcom also began a probe into whether the company blocked potential new players in the ultrafast broadband sector, according to a separate Reuters report. The Italian operator "reiterates the correctness of its conduct" and said it will cooperate with the regulators to prove it has not been involved with unlawful practices.

UK AND IRELAND

* ITV Plc CEO Carolyn McCall has dropped the broadcaster's long-running spat with Virgin Media over retransmission fees, London's The Daily Telegraph reports, citing sources. McCall is reportedly focused on sealing a more flexible carriage deal that would see the Liberty Global plc unit buying a package of advertising slots on ITV channels.

* British Telecom's BT Sport has retained exclusive rights to broadcast the MotoGP motorcycle races live in the U.K. and Ireland for three more years. The renewed deal runs until the end of MotoGP's 2021 season.

* Urban transport app Citymapper is challenging Uber Technologies Inc. with the launch of an on-demand minibus service in London, The Daily Telegraph reports. As part of the "smart rides" service, which is reportedly a cross between Uber and a traditional bus network, eight-seater buses will pick up and drop off passengers at fixed points within a road network.

* Channel 4 (UK) is involved in a carriage fee row with Freesat and is set to pull out its flagship HD channel and catchup service All4 from the satellite platform, Advanced Television reports. However, as part of its obligation as a public service broadcaster, Channel 4 will keep its standard-definition channels available on Freesat.

GERMANY, SWITZERLAND AND AUSTRIA

* ProSiebenSat.1 Media SE's supervisory board appointed Max Conze as chairman, effective June 1. He succeeds Thomas Ebeling, who is leaving the company on Feb. 22. In the interim, Deputy Chairman Conrad Albert will assume the position.

* Vodafone Group Plc unit Vodafone Germany and Telefónica Deutschland GmbH announced their joint agreement to launch a pilot project to connect their mobile sites to each other's fiber-optic lines. From July, the first 100 shared or neighboring mobile sites will be connected to the companies' respective fiber networks.

* Swisscom AG and Ericsson AB are collaborating on end-to-end network slicing for critical communications over public networks, and are exploring new use cases for 4G and 5G. The project is based on Ericsson's radio access and core networks.

* SAP SE said its supervisory and executive boards recommended a 12% increase in the company's annual dividend for fiscal 2017 to €1.40 per share from €1.25 per share in the previous year. The fiscal 2017 dividend will be paid on or after May 22 and is contingent to shareholder approval at the annual general meeting.

* Telefónica Deutschland reported a 2.6%increase in its operating income before depreciation and amortization and before exceptional effects to €1.84 billion. The rise in revenue was due to in part to additional synergies from the merger with E-Plus. Its 2018 revenue outlook before regulatory effects is set to be broadly stable.

FRANCE

* Vivendi SA sold its stake in Radionomy SA to MusicMatic SAS, the company owned by Radionomy's founding CEO Alexandre Saboundjian, for an undisclosed amount, BFM Business reports. Vivendi had purchased 64.4% of the web radio company for €24 million in December 2015.

* The Paris Commercial Court ordered Orange to pay Digicel Group €179.64 million, BFMTV reports. The court found that Orange caused seven years of damage to its competitor due to unfair practices in the French West Indies. Orange has filed an appeal.

* French media regulator Conseil supérieur de l'Audiovisuel outlined the process to elect the president of France Médias Monde. Candidacies will be accepted until March 23 and the president will be named no later than April 21.

* Orange posted results for 2017 with revenues of €41.1 billion, up 1.2% versus 2016, and adjusted EBITDA of €12.8 billion up 2.2% versus the previous year.

NETHERLANDS, BELGIUM AND LUXEMBOURG

* KPN NV said it has started activation of the 2,100 MHz 4G frequency, which will be used as a complement to the frequencies currently in use, which are 800 MHz, 1,800 MHz and 2,600 MHz. With the addition of the new frequency KPN aims to increase capacity and speed of its mobile network.

* The Dutch Senate approved the bill regarding information exchange networks called Wibon, Telecompaper reports. The government will now be able to request network operators to remove old network infrastructure in order to create space for new projects, and the new law will reportedly boost broadband network development as well.

* Proximus said it signed an agreement with music platform provider Stingray Digital Group Inc. to launch a new Belgian music channel on Proximus TV. The new channel, Stingray Hits, will be included in the basic Proximus TV package and will be provided in Dutch and French.

* Dutch magazine Vrij Nederland is launching a new digital subscription in which customers will receive a daily news article through WhatsApp Inc.

NORDIC COUNTRIES

* Spotify AB's co-founders issued shares with extra-high voting power to themselves in order to keep control of the company after its public listing, Bloomberg News reports, citing anonymous sources. Spotify CEO Daniel Ek and Vice Chair Martin Lorentzon have used "dual-class" structures to give themselves shares with much higher voting rights than the class which will be tradeable.

* Media group Bonnier AB's Bonnier Magazines & Brands said it is acquiring Swedish TV company TV4 AB's talent network Ent. Bonnier said the acquisition is part of its strategy to focus on influencers and with Ent on board, it strengthens its Nordic brand.

* Nokia Corp. might be preparing to close its health tech division, The Verge reports, quoting a leaked internal memo. Last week Nokia announced a strategic review of the business, but in the memo Chief Strategy Officer Kathrin Buvac said Nokia does not see a path for the unit to become "a meaningful part" of the company. The memo does not state definitively that the health business is being closed down.

SOUTHERN EUROPE

* Videotime SpA will merge with Italy's Mediaset SpA, the production company's parent company, effective March 1, Telecompaper reports. Under the merger agreement, each Videotime share will be exchanged with 0.294 Mediaset ordinary shares.

* Spain-headquartered Bambú Producciones SL will produce documentary series "El Crimen de Alcàsser" for Netflix Inc., Rapid TV News reports. The original series will premiere worldwide in 2019.

* Telecom Italia SpA's board scheduled a meeting Feb. 23 to decide on whether to accept the about €250 million offer from infrastructure fund F2i and towers company Rai Way SpA for the sale of its stake in Persidera, Reuters reports, citing a source. The offer is lower than Telecom Italia's valuation for Persidera of about €350 million, according to sources.

* Spanish law enforcement agency La Guardia Civil blocked 23 pirate websites which provided download links to various copyrighted content, such as movies, series and video games, Broadband TV News reports. The websites were hosted and operated abroad, but about 80% of its traffic comes from Spain.

EASTERN EUROPE

* Serbia is not looking to sell Telekom Srbija ad Beograd, Telecompaper reports, citing Trade, Tourism and Telecommunication Minister Rasim Ljajic's interview with Serbian daily Blic.

* Ukraine's National Commission for the State Regulation of Communications and Informatization has proposed a price of 763,000 Ukrainian hrvynia per MHz for LTE licenses in the 2,345 MHz to 2,400 MHz band, Telecompaper reports, citing BizLigaNet. Datagroup-operated telecom companies Giraffe and Kraevid have applied for frequencies.

* Tele2 Russia appointed Dmitriy Kholkin as the company's new IT director, replacing Olga Mordukovich, Telecompaper reports, citing Comnews.ru.

FEATURED NEWS

Q&A: Former FCC commissioner weighs in as states challenge agency on net neutrality: After the Federal Communications Commission voted to eliminate its net neutrality rules, more than two dozen states moved to implement their own protections. Former FCC commissioner Robert McDowell discusses the pending battle between the two sides.

FEATURED RESEARCH

Economics of Networks: El Rey & Fusion both turn cash-flow positive for Univision: As Univision Communications mulls whether it might sell a stake or go public, the company's 2017 earnings paint a picture where a sale appears to be the more likely scenario.

RECENT EARNINGS

DISH execs tout 2017 Sling growth, talk impact of Disney/Fox deal: For the first time in Sling's history, DISH separately disclosed its DISH TV and Sling TV subscribers, ending 2017 with 13.2 million pay TV subscribers, including 11.0 million DISH TV subscribers and 2.2 million Sling TV subscribers.

Daniela Latini, Sylvia Edwards Davis, Koen Pijnappels and Esben Svendsen contributed to this report. The Daily Dose has an editorial deadline of 7 a.m. London time. Some external links may require a subscription.