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AMC buys Nordic Cinema; Sky invests in UK indies


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AMC buys Nordic Cinema; Sky invests in UK indies


* AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. agreed to buy Stockholm-based Nordic Cinema Group Holding AB from European private equity company Bridgepoint and Swedish media group Bonnier AB in an all-cash transaction valued at 8.25 billion Swedish kronor, or US$929 million. Nordic Cinema operates 68 theaters, 463 screens and about 68,000 seats in nearly 50 large and medium-sized cities in the Nordic and Baltic states, and has a substantial minority interest in another 50 associated theaters to which Nordic provides a variety of shared services.

* Sky plc announced the acquisition of a majority stake in British indie True North for an undisclosed sum, as well as an investment in another British TV drama production company, Chrysalis Vision. Following Sky's stake purchase, Channel 4 (UK) will exit its investment in True North.


* James Quinn is resigning as Sky non-scripted commissioner after more than a year with the British pay TV giant, Broadcast reports. During his time at Sky, Quinn greenlit the blue-light documentary "The Force" for Sky 1 and Giles Coren's "Fake! The Great Masterpiece Challenge" for Sky Arts.

* London-based video services provider Simplestream struck a deal with Sony Corp. unit Sony Pictures Television Inc. to power the latter's new catchup service, Sony Kids, on YouView. Simplestream will host Sony's kids channels such as KIX, POP and Tiny Pop, according to a news release.

* Irish operator Pure Telecom announced a €1.8 million investment in the company in 2017, and the hiring of 32 new employees. The new hires will be working in sales, employee training, customer service and technical support.

* BBC Worldwide Ltd. entered into an agreement with Inc. to provide Amazon Prime Video in India with more than 600 hours of content from the British Broadcasting Corp., the company announced.

* U.K. media regulator Ofcom released its proposals for regulating the BBC and plans to seek shareholder views on the suggested procedural changes, Advanced Television reports.

* Ofcom is looking into viewers' complaints about domestic violence and foul language in the drama series "Call The Midwife," The Sun (U.K.) reports.


* Herbert Kloiber plans to sell the Austrian private TV channel ATV, reports German media magazine DWDL. German commercial broadcaster ProSiebenSat.1 Media SE may be a viable buyer. However, anti-monopoly authorities may deny the company the chance to acquire the channel.

* Media company Ringier Axel Springer Schweiz has announced that it will no longer publish the weekly L'Hebdo, according to German news site Finanz Nachrichten. The last issue will be published on Feb. 2. Ringier Axel Springer is a joint venture of Ringier AG and Axel Springer SE.

* German telecom provider Deutsche Telekom AG has partnered with German energy company Innogy to speed up the process of expanding broadband services nationwide, according to Handelsblatt.

* Sport1 launched an HbbTV service for subscribers with HbbTV-capable smart TVs to gain access additional content, Broadband TV News reports. The German sports broadcaster is not charging its subscribers for the new service.


* Altice NV unit SFR made progress in tackling the delayed deployment of 4G with a €2 billion investment in 2016, Les Echos reports. CEO Michel Paulin said that although the mobile operator had been lagging behind competitors, it had proven its ability to deploy at a fast pace and is within reach of hitting its goal of becoming the leading 4G provider by the end of 2017.

* Stéphane Bouillaud, director of international digital development for Vivendi SA unit Canal Plus Group SA, has been appointed international director of theme channels. He will be in charge of new international editorial projects and the development of French theme channels abroad.

* News service Explicite, created by about 50 former iTélé journalists, launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise €150,000, CB News reports. Explicite distributes news fully via social media and started broadcasting via Facebook and Twitter on Jan. 21. In a first partnership with Yahoo, users are able to access content via Yahoo News and interact with journalists online.

* China Central Television (CCTV)(CN) struck a deal with Eutelsat Communications SA to have three of its flagship channels broadcast internationally in high definition, according to a news release. The long-term distribution contract with Eutelsat will see the CCTV-4 HD, CGTN HD and CGTN-Documentary HD channels aired across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.


* John de Mol's media concern Talpa has made a bid for Telegraaf Media Group, Talpa announced in a press release. The company is offering €5.90 per TMG share, €0.65 more than the earlier joint bid by Belgian Mediahuis and the Van Puijenbroek family.

* KPN NV is going to extend its 4K Ultra HD service later this year, TotaalTV reports. Based on a 4K Ultra HD test pilot with 1,500 customers, KPN has reportedly decided to provide the service to a larger group of viewers, and add both linear channels and OTT services to the 4K Ultra HD offer.

* Liberty Global plc unit Ziggo NV and football club PSV Eindhoven have introduced a video-on-demand service in the form of PSV TV, Telecompaper reports. The service is available on the Ziggo On Demand service, and offers various sorts of programming related to PSV.


* The Swedish Economic Crime Authority has arrested a member of the board of tech business Fingerprint Cards, the company said in a press release. Lars Söderfjell is accused of market abuse in connection with Fingerprint Cards’ profit warning in December. Shareholder Johan Carlström has also been taken into custody over the allegations.

* Danish telecom group TDC A/S has upgraded its expectation for free cash flow to about 2.1 billion kroner from 1.7 billion kroner, Børsen reports. TDC said the upgrade was due to different timing of changes to working capital. The group is releasing its financial report for 2016 on Feb. 3, 2017.

* Swedish telecom group Telia Co. AB has renewed its complaint against the Norwegian auction of mobile frequencies in the 900 MHz band, Inside Telecom reports. Telia claims that the rules for the auction would make it possible for its competitor Telenor ASA to limit Telia’s ability to compete. The auction was postponed due to Telia’s first complaint, but the Norwegian telecom authority Nkom has not made any changes to the rules.


* Swisscom AG unit Fastweb SpA started issuing SIM cards with access to 4G and 4G Plus network services, as part of the move to shift to a full MVNO, Telecompaper reports. The network covers about 95% of Italy, where users can have download speeds of up to 100 Mbps and upload speeds of up to 40 Mbps.

* Discovery Communications Inc. joined Spain's pay TV organization, the Asociación de Canales Temáticos de Televisión de Pago en España, to help boost the visibility of its pay TV services, Rapid TV News reports.

* Vodafone Group Plc's Vodafone España SAU is activating its first network that uses the narrowband Internet of Things technology in Madrid and Valencia in Spain, Telecompaper reports. About 100,000 everyday objects can now be connected to each base station.


* Starman A.S. unit Cgates UAB acquired Lithuanian operator Transteleservis, which operates in the towns of Visaginas and Pabrade, Telecompaper reports, citing The move comes as Cgates is eyeing more regional acquisitions in 2017.

* Polish operator Netia SA began commercial trials of broadband services via its upgraded network, Telecompaper reports, citing The upgraded network covers Kraków, Lódz, Wroclaw and seven other Polish cities, with the coverage expected to increase by the end of 2017.

* Russian regulator Roskomnadzor approved Prestige Internet's 100% acquisition of wireless broadband services provider Infoset, Telecompaper reports. Prestige Internet is working under the Enforta brand.

* One.Vip is now providing 3G/4G/4G+ network services and has increased LTE access to 95.8% of the population, following the completion of its merger and its networks integration, Telecompaper reports. One.Vip is a unit of América Móvil SAB de CV's Telekom Austria Group.

* Russia's MegaFon launched a new gaming service to allow subscribers who use Android-powered as well as Java and Symbian-powered handsets to access about 3,000 mobile gaming applications, Telecompaper reports.

* Polish transmission company EmiTel ruled out cyberattack and physical interference as the cause of TVP SA's blackout in December 2016, saying it was due to a technical failure, Broadband TV News reports.


Q&A: Iflix CEO on conquering piracy, cultural barriers in Asia's OTT market: S&P Global Market Intelligence spoke to Mark Britt, co-founder and group CEO of Malaysia-based iflix, about the over-the-top service's strategy behind its rapid growth across Asia.

M&A Replay: Google acquires Twitter unit; Microsoft buys Simplygon: S&P Global Market Intelligence provides a wrap-up of U.S. media and communications deal announcements and completions from Jan. 16 to Jan. 20.

M&A Replay: European deals through Jan. 20: Microsoft, Deutsche Telekom, Ericsson: S&P Global Market Intelligence provides a wrap-up of European media and communications deal announcements, completions and updates from Jan. 16 to Jan. 20.


Economics of TV & Film: Netflix international subs catching up to domestic count: The holidays were indeed happy for Netflix as the company reported it had exceeded its forecasts for domestic and international subscriber additions in the last quarter of 2016.

Sylvia Edwards Davis, Anne Freier, 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.