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Liberty Global CEO dismisses downsize speculation; Nokia to cut jobs in Finland


* Liberty Global plc dismissed speculation it is dismantling its European operations, despite entering into discussions to divest key assets in Germany and eastern Europe, and selling its Austrian business to Germany's Deutsche Telekom AG. For now, a deal between Vodafone Group Plc, which owns a range of mobile and wireless broadband networks across Europe, and Liberty is reportedly centered on Liberty's cable business in Germany, as well as assets across eastern Europe.

* Nokia Corp. is preparing to cut up to 425 full-time positions in Finland. The company has started negotiations with unions about the job cuts, which are part of a program to cut costs by €1.2 billion by the end of 2018.


* The European Commission has urged Facebook Inc., Alphabet Inc. unit Google Inc. and Twitter Inc. to "do more" to fully comply with EU consumer protection laws. The commission issued its statement after it found that a number of changes made by the social media companies to their terms of service have only partially addressed concerns about liability issues to consumers, as well as about informing users about removing content or terminating service contracts.


* BBC Worldwide Ltd. said BBC Studios has created a production arm in Australia and intends to appoint a director of production, who will be part of the Australia and New Zealand executive management team. BBC Studios Australia has commissioned "Stargazing Live 2" for Australian Broadcasting Corp. The news comes after the British Broadcasting Corp. revealed in late 2017 that BBC Worldwide will merge with BBC Studios in April.

* Elliot Capital Advisors has increased its stake in Sky plc to about 2.18%, Reuters reports. Elliot purchased a 1.09% stake in the British broadcaster in January.

* The U.K. Foreign Office Minister for Cyber Security Tariq Ahmad alleged that the Russian government was responsible for the NotPetya cyberattack in June 2017 that targeted Ukraine and affected other Russian and European businesses. An assessment by the National Cyber Security Centre said the Russian military was "almost certainly responsible" for the cyberattack. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov denied the allegations, Reuters reports.

* More than 100 BBC presenters may have to deal with tax bills of hundreds of thousands of pounds after HM Revenue and Customs ruled against taxes imposed on a former star on the network, London's The Daily Telegraph reports. HMRC said Christa Ackroyd, who was a freelancer at the BBC while co-hosting "Look North" on BBC One, should have paid the same level of tax as regular BBC employees. She must now reportedly pay back £419,151.

* High Court Judge Justice Morris has allowed global organization Avaaz to appeal against Ofcom's "fit and proper" ruling on 21st Century Fox Inc.'s proposed Sky takeover. The group said that it also urged the U.K.'s Competition and Markets Authority to deny the Fox-Sky deal an approval.


* Deutsche Telekom CEO Tim Höttges is planning major changes to its corporate strategy, WirtschaftsWoche reports. Among the plans, Höttges wants to digitize the company's business processes.

* Unitymedia said it increased turnover by 4% to €2.4 billion in 2017 and added 229,000 internet, telephone and TV subscriptions in the past fiscal year. Average monthly revenue per customer went up by 3.4%, compared to the previous year.

* The European Nuclear Research Center has commissioned Deutsche Telekom unit T-Systems to operate its hybrid cloud platform. As part of the pilot project, T-Systems will implement a multicloud solution based on the Open Telekom Cloud.


* Inc. will create 2,000 more permanent contract positions in France in 2018, Reuters reports, citing a company statement. The e-commerce giant also plans to open a 142,000-square-foot delivery warehouse in the country within a year.

* Atos SE completed its deal to acquire Unify Inc. for a transaction value of €390 million. In addition to general closing conditions, the deal required additional review for antitrust concerns.

* To expand its roster of premium content partners, Vivendi SA-owned Dailymotion SA has announced a syndication partnership with the Haymarket Media Group's FourFourTwo. The soccer magazine brand will distribute its original video content via Dailymotion's content platform, available via mobile app and desktop.


* Dutch consumer association Consumentenbond will take legal action against mobile providers which deceived consumers with subscriptions including so-called free devices. The Supreme Court ruled in 2014 and 2016 that several providers, including Vodafone Nederland, T-Mobile Netherlands, KPN NV and Tele2 BV, had provided customers with misleading information, and Consumentenbond now demands compensation for those customers.

* RTL Nederland Program Director Erland Galjaard will resign after 21 years at the broadcaster, the RTL Group unit writes.

* VodafoneZiggo incurred a 7% decrease in consumer product revenues during the fourth quarter of 2017, while the total revenue fell by 4%, the company reports. According to CEO Jeroen Hoencamp, the results can partly be explained by new roaming regulations, price competition and a mix shift toward sim-only.

* The intended acquisition of Tele2 AB by T-Mobile Netherlands might cause a delay in the 700 MHz, 1400 MHz and 2100 MHz frequency auctions which are planned for 2019, Tweakers reports. The takeover is currently being evaluated by the European Commission and, if approved, will have significant implications for the auction.


* Spotify AB has advised its shareholders to waive their preferential rights in connection with share sales, Affärsvärlden reports, citing sources. Waiving these rights is a prerequisite for the company to be publicly listed, and Spotify's message to its shareholders is seen as a signal that a listing is soon to be announced.

* Finnish operator Elisa Corp. will begin building a 5G-ready network in the town of Turku and its surrounding areas. Elisa said that it will start replacing station hardware in its existing mobile network with the latest technology in March and construction will be finished in May.

* Nokia has begun a strategic review of its Digital Health business which includes hybrid smart watches, scales and digital health devices. The Finnish company said that its ?patent business, brand partnerships and technology licensing units are not in the scope of the strategic review?.

* Swedish game development company Starbreeze AB reported losses before taxation of 67.9 million Swedish kronor in the fourth quarter, despite a 4.4% increase in net sales. The result was affected by write-downs of 20.2 million kronor after lower-than-expected sales of the game "RAID: World War II."


* The Portuguese Competition Authority decided to launch an in-depth probe into Altice NV's proposed acquisition of Media Capital. The regulator said there are "strong indications" that the merger may hinder competition in the audiovisual content production, TV channels, advertising and telecom and pay TV sectors.

* Spanish broadcaster Mediapro is set to provide the beIN SPORTS and beIN LaLiga sports channels to other over-the-top platforms in the same way they are offered to traditional operators, Advanced Television reports. Mediapro is opening up its soccer TV rights to avoid potential fines from antitrust regulator CNMC for violating competition rules.

* Vivendi said it continues to support Telecom Italia SpA's current management under CEO Amos Genish, Reuters reports. The French media group also revealed that it had "positive" discussions with the Italian government over its appeal not to enforce the "golden power" decree on Telecom Italia. Vivendi made the statement amid the release of its 2017 full-year results, reporting revenues of €12.44 billion; a 15.0% year-over-year increase.

* The Italian antitrust authority launched an investigation into telecom companies over suspected collusion in anticompetitive billing practices, Reuters reports, citing a statement. Swisscom AG unit Fastweb SpA denied its participation in the alleged cartel, according to a separate Reuters report. Meanwhile, Telecom Italia "categorically" ruled out "having engaged in any coordination of its commercial strategies with other operators."

* Spanish consumer group Facua filed a complaint with competition regulator CNMC against Telefónica SA's Movistar, Vodafone España SAU and Orange SA unit Orange España over claims that the telcos organized a cartel to increase the prices of their convergent packages, Advanced Television reports.


* Instagram has bowed to demands by Russian communications watchdog Roskomnadzor to block posts related to corruption claims made by opposition lawmaker Alexey Navalny, BBC News reports. The claims concern a YouTube video that allegedly shows Russian Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Prikhodko meeting with billionaire Oleg Deripaska. In a tweet, Navalny accused Instagram of giving in to "illegal censorship requests."

* Russian cable operator Akado Telecom teamed up with Lifestream to launch an over-the-top service, which offers 170 TV channels in 11 packages, Broadband TV News reports, citing ComNews. Lifestream will supply content to the new service.


Hires and Fires: Amazon Studios gets new head; VICE Media revamps EMEA team: E-commerce giant Amazon named former NBC Entertainment President Jennifer Salke as the new head of Amazon Studios. VICE Media announced a restructure of its Europe, Middle East and Africa team, with plans for several layoffs.


Economics of Internet: Audioboom Group to merge with Triton Digital: Audioboom Group revealed plans to combine with U.S. rival audio technology firm Triton Digital in a reverse takeover deal for $186.2 million. The merger would mesh the podcasting expertise of AudioBoom with the leading streaming-audio metrics firm.

Global Multichannel: Global markets update – Germany, Colombia: Kagan, a media research group within S&P Global Market Intelligence, has recently updated Global Multichannel & Broadband analysis for two markets.

Anne Freier, Daniela Latini, Amanda Kelly, Sylvia Edwards Davis, Charlotte van Hek, Koen Pijnappels, Esben Svendsen 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.