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Telia's Baltic units to air HBO; UPC Switzerland introduces new sports channel

TOP NEWS

* HBO is making its content available on TV platforms operated by Telia Estonia and Telia Lithuania, as well as Latvia's Lattelecom Group and mobile operator LMT, Digital TV Europe reports. AT&T Inc.'s WarnerMedia, formerly Time Warner Inc., owns HBO.

* Liberty Global PLC unit UPC Switzerland Holding BV will launch sports channel MySports One on Aug. 14. MySports One will be available to all digital TV customers of UPC Switzerland and collaborating network operators at no extra charge.

PAN-EUROPEAN

* Impala, a group of independent music companies, is urging EU antitrust regulators to reject Sony Corp.'s $2.3 billion offer to take full control of EMI Music Publishing, Reuters reports. Impala Executive Chair Helen Smith reportedly said the combined entity would gain too much market power at the expense of independent music labels.

* The Building Europe Link to Latin America consortium, or BELLA, has struck a deal with private consortium EllaLink for the rollout of an underwater fiber optic cable that will connect Europe and Latin America, according to BELLA's leading investor, the European Commission. The cable is expected to help boost the connectivity needs of businesses as well as scientific and cultural exchanges between the two continents.

UK AND IRELAND

* British digital terrestrial TV platform Freeview will add HD factual entertainment channel Quest to its lineup, beginning Aug. 14. Quest carries series including "Salvage Hunters," "Combat Dealers" and "Aussie Gold Hunters."

* Virgin Media Inc. has introduced a download feature on its Virgin TV Go app. The feature can be used over Wi-Fi or through 3G or 4G networks in the U.K. and countries in the European Union.

* Virgin Media is also conducting its ultrafast broadband network expansion to bring internet speeds of up to 362 Mbps to about 7,000 homes and businesses in Sunderland. The completion of the project is expected by the end of 2019.

* Ticketmaster UK Ltd. will close Seatwave Ltd. and GET ME IN!, saying that "secondary sites just don't cut it anymore." The ticketing platform will be launching a fan-to-fan ticket exchange in October in the U.K. and Ireland, as well as in other European countries at a later date.

GERMANY, SWITZERLAND AND AUSTRIA

* Kudelski SA has agreed to transfer Smardtv SA's Conditional Access Module and Set-Top Box businesses to SmarDTV Global, a newly set up entity associated with Neotion. The upfront cash consideration for the deal is at around $20 million, with potential additional earn-out payments based on CAM and set-top box sales volumes until 2021.

* German operator 1&1 Drillisch AG confirmed its outlook for full-year growth after a solid increase in first-half results. Revenues rose 14.5% on a pro forma basis to €1.8 billion and are expected to reach €3.7 billion over the full year.

* United Internet AG reported a 10.9% year-over-year rise in revenues to €2.5 billion on a pro forma basis due to its acquisitions of Strato and Drillisch AG. EBITDA increased 10.8% to €565.5 million on the same basis.

* Telecommunications operators in Austria may unilaterally change contracts and in such case, the customer can cancel the contract without penalty, according to a ruling by the Austrian Supreme Court. The case was brought by Austrian consumer protection organisation VKI against CK Hutchison Holdings Ltd. unit Hutchison Drei Austria GmbH for an increase in annual fees of almost 39% in some tariffs.

FRANCE

* BeIN Media Group LLC's beIN Sports halved its subscription price to coincide with the resumption of Ligue 1 soccer, Univers Freebox reports. The subscription for 10 months is reduced to €89 from €150 until Aug. 31.

NETHERLANDS, BELGIUM AND LUXEMBOURG

* Commercial radio channel Kink FM will provide more clarity about its possible return on the air by Oct. 1, reports Mediamagazine. The channel stopped broadcasting in 2011, but has earlier said it is preparing for a comeback.

* Dutch software developer Quintor is expanding its business by opening its fourth office in the Netherlands, in the city of Den Bosch, reports Dutch IT-channel. The company, which employs about 170 people, already has offices in Amersfoort, Den Haag and Groningen.

NORDIC COUNTRIES

* Telia Co. AB unit Telia Denmark has conducted several 5G demonstrations in the last week, based on both end-to-end solutions and the new 5G standards coming in 2020. The company has also started testing permanent technologies and standards in the narrowband-internet of things and 5G, together with some business customers.

* The Norwegian National Security Authority is establishing a national cybersecurity center by the end of 2018. The center will help protect basic national functions, public administration and business against cyberattacks, and resources from public authorities, industry, academia and international partners will be included.

* Telenor ASA unit Telenor Norway has invested more than 20 million Norwegian kroner to upgrade the mobile network along the route of the 700-kilometer Arctic Race cycle event in northern Norway. The upgrade includes three new base stations, as well as an upgrade from 2G to 4G of more than 50 base stations.

SOUTHERN EUROPE

* The Italian economy ministry has decided not to exercise its "golden power" on the joint bid by infrastructure fund F2i and Mediaset SpA for towers operator EI Towers SpA, Telecompaper reports, citing Corriere delle Comunicazioni. The government will thus not block the proposed takeover, which is backed by the EI Towers board.

* Viewers in the Indian sub-continent will soon be able to watch games from Spanish soccer league La Liga for free on Facebook Inc., following a landmark deal between both parties, Reuters reports, citing a statement. The deal covers all 380 La Liga matches that will be available for streaming to Facebook users in India, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Maldives, Sri Lanka and Pakistan.

* Altice Portugal SA has renewed its intellectual property license from U.S. technology company TiVo Corp., the latter said. The deal will enable Altice Portugal to continue using products that are powered by TiVo's patented technologies. Altice Portugal is a unit of Altice Europe, formerly Altice NV.

EASTERN EUROPE

* Investment company PPF Group NV is among several parties interested in buying Balkan cable and pay TV operator United Group BV, Balkan Insight reports, citing sources. United Group is reportedly set to meet PPF and other potential buyers ahead of a reported auction in September.

* Polish cable operator NETIA SA named Andrzej Abramczuk as its new CEO, effective Aug. 18, Telecompaper reports, citing a statement. Abramczuk will assume Netia's top post, which has been vacant since May 18 following the resignation of Katarzyna Iwuc.

* Fakty Muzyka Telewizja, regarded as the first privately owned Polish-language TV channel, has debuted in Lithuania, Broadband TV News reports, citing Satkurier. The channel is reportedly up for sale, with Cyfrowy Polsat SA and Discovery Inc. cited as potential buyers.

FEATURED NEWS

Privacy Matters: US big tech reports mixed impact from EU data protection law: Analysts and legal experts believe the impact of the law will likely be unevenly felt among big and small companies, though it is still too early to know whether the law will have its intended impact of better safeguarding consumers' data.

M&A Replay: Fox extends bidding war for Sky; Hutchison offers Wind Tre deal concessions: 21st Century Fox extended its bidding war with Comcast for Sky after leaving its latest takeover offer for the British pay TV giant unchanged, while CK Hutchison has offered concessions to secure EU approval for its takeover of Italy's Wind Tre.

FEATURED RESEARCH

Global Multichannel: QVC announces launch of interactive OTT service in Germany: QVC announced during Qurate Retail Group's Aug. 8 earnings call an interactive over-the-top service in Germany to address the growing trends of digital media consumption and the rise of e-commerce that are transforming the retail industry.

Daniela Latini, Sylvia Edwards Davis, Charlotte van Hek and Esben Svendsen contributed to this report.

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