* Tech giants such as Apple Inc., Dell Inc. and Spotify AB are facing eight lawsuits in the U.S. from Data Scape, a company supported by U.S.-Irish investors, over alleged patent infringement, Dublin's The Irish Times reports. Data Scape accused the companies of violating its U.S. patents, including those for technology to assist data transfer and cloud storage.
* Orange SA's Orange Espagne SAU mulls acquiring Euskaltel SA, Advanced Television reports. The move comes after Zegona Communications PLC's decision to drop its plan to increase its stake in Euskaltel.
* The contract covering the construction of a transatlantic fiber-optic cable between Portugal and Brazil has taken effect, the European Commission said. The project, which is expected to provide high broadband connectivity, involves the Building the Europe Link to Latin America consortium, an international partnership of research and education networks whose leading investor is the European Commission.
UK AND IRELAND
* Discovery Inc. said it acquired a 71% controlling stake in Bath, England-based Play Sports Group, a digital sports media company behind cycling brands Global Cycling Network and Global Mountain Bike Network. Discovery, which originally acquired a 20% stake in Play Sports Group in February 2017, will leverage the acquisition to help build a worldwide cycling media ecosystem through its principal sport brand Eurosport.
* RTL Group signed an agreement to acquire control of U.K.-based video technology company Yospace Technologies Ltd. for up to $33 million before cash and debt adjustments. The transaction is expected to close Feb. 1.
* Pay TV giant Sky Ltd., formerly Sky PLC, has taken a stake in video software provider Synamedia for an undisclosed price. Synamedia is majority-held by Permira Holdings Ltd.-managed funds.
* Japanese telecom operator KDDI Corp. announced an investment in U.K.-based big data startup GeoSpock Ltd., through unit KDDI Open Innovation Fund 3. Financial details were not disclosed.
* Nordic Entertainment Group AB and FilmNation Entertainment LLC have formed a new U.K.-based television joint venture, which will run under the FilmNation brand. It will develop, produce and finance premium scripted TV content for global audiences.
GERMANY, SWITZERLAND AND AUSTRIA
* Sporttotal AG-owned sports-streaming platform sporttotal.tv has struck a deal with Google Cloud to support its Berlin Development Lab through new technologies, including artificial intelligence and machine learning. Google Cloud is a division of Alphabet Inc. unit Google LLC.
* T-Mobile Austria GmbH has brought the UPC TV app on its mobile network, including on tele.ring Telekom Service GmbH, Digital TV Europe reports. The Deutsche Telekom AG unit has also launched the app on Amazon.com Inc.'s Fire TV streaming device and on Android TV devices.
* Deutsche Telekom will be bundling its TV sports offers under the MagentoSport brand, InfoSat reports. Customers will be able to view major sporting events as part of the bundle.
* Bouygues Telecom SA has begun exclusive negotiations to acquire independent operator Nerim SAS to strengthen its position in the business segment, L'Express reports, citing sources. Nerim, which specializes in broadband and very-high-speed offers for small and medium-sized companies, is reportedly valued for this deal at about €50 million.
* Orange said it borrowed on the bond market the equivalent of about €4 billion in four tranches. The bonds are worth €650 million over three years with a coupon of 0.50%, €1.25 billion over 5.5 years with a coupon of 1.125%, €1.25 billion over 10 years with a coupon of 2.00% and £750 million over 13 years with a coupon of 3.25%.
* Agence France-Presse news director Michèle Léridon announced her departure in a letter to the news agency's employees, Le Monde reports. Léridon had been in charge of the transition since spring 2018, at the request of new CEO Fabrice Fries.
* Technicolor has entered into a partnership with Viaccess-Orca Ltd. to integrate the latter's DRM solution and VO Player into the former's Sapphire set-top boxes, which use an Android operating system and Broadcom 7271 chipset. The agreement between the French companies would allow operators to utilize Viaccess-Orca's security services on Technicolor set-top boxes.
NETHERLANDS, BELGIUM AND LUXEMBOURG
* ZDF Enterprises, the commercial subsidiary of German broadcaster ZDF (DE), has acquired a 100% stake in Dutch nonfiction content company Off The Fence BV. Ellen Windemuth will remain Off The Fence CEO.
* Dutch operator KPN NV expects to connect an average of 6,500 households per week to its fiber-optic network. The projection means about 1 million additional addresses will have access to the network by 2021-end.
* NXP Semiconductors NV and France's Kalray SA are teaming up to tackle safety and performance concerns related to autonomous driving tests. The companies will jointly develop a central computing platform for autonomous driving.
* Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel will speak to Proximus CEO Dominique Leroy on Jan. 9, after socialist trade union ACOD expressed fears that the provider will implement a "cost optimization" plan, VTM reports. ACOD said the move could result in a loss of 2,000 jobs. Proximus has not confirmed nor denied the plans.
* Broadband operator Eurofiber NV has appointed Paul Naastepad managing director under a revamped management structure. Previous Managing Director Jeanine van der Vlist has joined Eurofiber's board of directors.
* Ziggo NV will implement several changes to its digital TV channel offering on Feb. 1, MediaMagazine reports. As part of the changes, TV channels Food Network, Fine Living and Travel Channel will be removed from the Movies & Series XL package.
* Telia Co. AB unit Telia Oy is pulling the plug on its landline services to customers in Finland, Yle reports.
* Advania AB has acquired Finnish digital tech company Vintor, said Advania. Vintor develops specialized digital customer engagement solutions. The acquisition serves to broadens Advania's product offering in the field of customer service solutions.
* Nordea Bank Abp will outsource its IBM-Z operations to International Business Machines Corp. under a new managed services deal worth $540 million, Dagens Industri reports. The deal, which covers machine learning cognitive services, spans five countries.
* Italy's Ministry of Economic Development has entered into an agreement with Swisscom AG-owned Fastweb SpA in relation to conducting network trials using 5G frequencies in the city of Cagliari, Telecompaper reports.
* Telefónica SA has deployed the NAGRA Security Services Platform for its Movistar IPTV service and its 4K Ultra HD offering with set-top boxes. The Kudelski SA unit's platform intends to cater to Movistar's multiple devices, such as set-top boxes, globally.
* The Council of Competition of Bosnia & Herzegovina has green lit the acquisition of cable operator Blicnet by Telekom Srbija ad unit Telekomunikacije Republike Srpske ad, Broadband TV News reports, citing Capital.
* Discovery-owned Eurosport will air 39 ATP Tour tennis tournaments for three years in Russia, beginning this month, Advanced Television reports.
* Cypriot operator CYTA has appointed Andreas Neokleous as senior executive director, Telecompaper reports, citing the company.
Data Dispatch: Analysis: Big tech no longer certain bet in 2019: A volatile 2018 took a bite out of certain big tech stocks. As a result, many analysts are urging investors to be more selective in 2019.
Multichannel Trends: A look at Verizon's new set-top box: Fios TV subscribers can now take advantage of 4K high dynamic range content and voice search, while content apps could pave the way to more over-the-top content from Verizon.
Anne Freier, Sylvia Edwards Davis, Charlotte van Hek and Gerard O'Dwyer contributed to this report.
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