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Vivendi seeks Universal Music stake buyers; Netflix to open office in Germany

TOP NEWS

* Vivendi SA is seeking strategic buyers for a stake in Universal Music Group Inc. after some potential bidders were turned off by the price the company was seeking, Bloomberg News reports, citing sources with knowledge of the matter. Vivendi has reportedly set the minimum value for the business at $28 billion to $33 billion, the people said.

* Netflix Inc. confirmed that it will be launching a dedicated office in Berlin, according to Horizont. The company already has local presences in the U.K., Spain and France.

* ITV PLC's TV channel ITV2 has teamed up with Hulu LLC to commission zombie apocalypse TV series "Zomboat!" from ITV Studios Ltd.'s Noho Film & Television, according to a news release. ITV has also obtained a four-year deal for a free-to-air broadcast of the Emirates FA Cup beginning 2021, according to a separate announcement. In addition, ITV Studios' factual arm Shiver will be renamed as Multistory Media.

UK AND IRELAND

* Former British Telecom CEO Gavin Patterson has agreed to receive only around half of his total annual bonus of about £1.3 million, after shareholders raised questions about its amount, Reuters reports. The news comes after the company's plan to overhaul its management pay structure has been revealed.

* Sunset+Vine Productions Ltd. has obtained a four-year production deal with the International Cricket Council, allowing the British company to provide production services for ICC TV until 2023, Advanced Television reports.

* Former Channel 5 (UK) CEO Dawn Airey has been appointed nonexecutive director at Blackbird PLC's board, according to a news release. Viacom Inc. owns Channel 5.

* U.S. supermarket chain Target Corp. is holding discussions to acquire WPP PLC's Triad Retail Media in a bid to bolster its digital advertising business, The Wall Street Journal reports, citing people familiar with the matter. The talks are at an early stage, the sources said.

* Freesat (UK) Ltd. will be installing Finnish company Icareus Ltd.'s Playout platform into its system, which will replace their legacy systems and allow for other improvements, such as over-the-air updates to Freesat satellite receivers, according to a news release.

GERMANY, SWITZERLAND AND AUSTRIA

* Sky PLC unit Sky Deutschland GmbH has launched the availability of its new Sky Q Mini Box which allows 1.5 million additional customers to access the Sky Q app. Sky Q was launched one year ago in Germany and Austria.

* The German 5G frequency auction has so far attracted €6 billion in bids. German operators Deutsche Telekom AG has the most bids in 13 of the blocks, followed by Vodafone Group PLC's Vodafone Deutschland Gmbh in 12 and Telefónica SA's Telefónica Deutschland Holding AG in eight, according to Germany's Bundesnetzagentur.

FRANCE

* Amazon.com Inc.'s Amazon Prime Video will become a distributor of over-the-top pay TV channels in France, Les Échos reports. The launch is expected to take place May 30.

* France's Reworld Media SA said it acquired DZ Foot, the first French-speaking website on Algerian football news, from its founders for an undisclosed amount. DZ Foot cofounder Hassen Ferroukhi was appointed head of digital sports business at Reworld Media.

* TF1 Group SA said it appointed François Pellissier director of TF1 Advertising and Sports, and member of the executive committee, replacing Régis Ravanas who is leaving the company. Fabrice Bailly takes over the management of TFI Production, in addition to his duties as the company's director of programming and acquisitions.

NETHERLANDS, BELGIUM AND LUXEMBOURG

* The joined company of Medialaan and De Persgroep Publishing NV will continue under the new name of DPG Media, according to a news release. The new name applies to all business units: Medialaan-De Persgroep Publishing, as well as De Persgroep Nederland BV.

* The European Court of Justice has decided that the merger between operators Vodafone Nederland and Ziggo NV in 2017 was not in conflict with internal market legislation, hereby rejecting the claim of operator KPN NV against the earlier decision of the European Commission. KPN appealed to the court because it said the commission had not correctly estimated the consequences of the Vodafone-Ziggo merger, Nu.nl reports.

* Red Bee Media Ltd. said it has been contracted to deliver Managed OTT services for Dutch live TV and video-on-demand platform NLZiet, after successfully completing a proof of concept with live streams of the UEFA Champions League in May. Services provided include transcoding, packaging and delivery of high-quality streams of live channels and catch-up content on the NLZiet platform.

* Peter Vandermeersch, former editor-in-chief of Belgian paper De Standaard and Dutch newspaper NRC, has announced he will become publisher of Irish newspaper group Independent News Media and help integrate the company into publisher Mediahuis NV, which acquired INM, reports De Volkskrant. Vandermeersch, who left NRC early this year, initially planned on becoming Paris correspondent for the newspaper.

* Dutch publisher Boom Uitgevers Nieuwsmedia BV has acquired publisher Management Impact from Vakmedianet, effective June 1, for an undisclosed amount, reports Villamedia. The 12 employees from Management will all move to Boom Uitgevers.

NORDIC COUNTRIES

* Tele2 AB said it has reached an agreement with Kazakhtelecom on the price for its equity share in the two companies' joint venture in Kazakhstan. Tele2 will receive net proceeds of about $169 million and a full repayment of its shareholder loan of more than $200 million.

* TDC A/S said its subsidiary Telmore A/S has entered a partnership with Nordic Entertainment Group AB's Viaplay AB. The deal means that Telmore's customers can get access to content from Viaplay through the Telmore Play streaming service.

* Nokia Corp. said it will collaborate with U Mobile Sdn. Bhd. on 5G live network trial in Malaysia. The two companies have also signed a three-year contract for the deployment of Nokia Single Radio Access Network and other technologies to support U Mobile's expansion of the delivery of mobile data services.

* Spotify Technology SA's chief of corporate-sponsored startup accelerator Slingshot, Karen Lawson, is set to become managing director of Spotify Australia & New Zealand, The Australian Financial Review reports. Lawson will replace Jane Huxley, who left the company back in February.

SOUTHERN EUROPE

* Swedish private equity firm EQT AB, through its EQT Infrastructure IV fund, agreed to acquire Maltese telecom operator Melita PLC from Apax Partners LLP and Fortino Capital for an undisclosed sum. The acquisition is expected to help support Melita's expansion into Italy as well as the launch of its internet of things-based connectivity offer.

* An Italian court decided to extend the suspension of a €74.3 million fine against Telecom Italia SpA over its failure to inform the government about Vivendi's effective control of the company, Reuters reports. The imposition of the fine would be extended until at least Nov. 30.

* Euskaltel SA has filed a complaint with the Spanish Data Protection Agency against film producer Venice PI over the latter's alleged illegal use of its customers' data, Telecompaper reports. Venice PI reportedly used the data to send emails to the cable operator's customers, asking them to pay €150 in exchange for illegally sharing a movie via a peer-to-peer network.

* Chinese consumer electronics company Lenovo Group Ltd. is merging its Spanish and Portugese operations into a single Iberian business unit, Telecompaper reports, citing El Economista.

EASTERN EUROPE

* Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó has defended the country's use of mobile technology from Chinese tech giant Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd., Reuters reports. Szijjártó said it was unfair for western European nations to criticize Hungary's dealings with Huawei, since the 5G networks were being built by European telecom heavyweights such as Deutsche Telekom and Vodafone Group.

* Mobile TeleSystems PJSC is considering the potential effects to its operations of a U.S. ban against Huawei, Reuters reports. MTS CEO Alexei Kornya said the Russian operator is not taking action at the moment regarding the U.S. government's move.

* Russian pay TV and subscription video-on-demand provider Amedia TV has struck a content licensing tie-up with CBS Corp.'s CBS Studios International, TBI Vision reports. The multiyear deal will enable Amedia TV to carry a range of CBS All Access content, while also securing exclusive rights to series such as "A Million Little Things" and "In the Dark."

* Russian pay TV provider Tricolor TV has rolled out new unlimited tiers of broadband-by-satellite services, in partnership with Eutelsat Communications SA's Eutelsat Networks, Digital TV Europe reports.

* The governments of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine struck a deal to create a single roaming area with the European Union, with issues on the matter expected to be ironed out by 2020, Telecompaper reports, citing BizLigaNet.

FEATURED NEWS

Hires and Fires Europe: Deutsche Telekom to revamp management board; Volia CEO stepping down: Deutsche Telekom is reducing seats in its management board, while Gyorgy Zsembery is stepping down as chief executive of Ukrainian cable operator Volia.

FEATURED RESEARCH

Multichannel Trends: Cable triple-plays extend declining streak: Multi-product trends point to broader move toward two-service subscriptions.

RECENT EARNINGS

Autodesk shares drop after Q2 earnings miss; fiscal 2020 guidance affirmed: The software services company still expects adjusted EPS of between $2.71 and $2.90 in the fiscal year ending Jan. 31, 2020.

Anne Freier, Sylvia Edwards Davis, Charlotte van Hek and Esben Svendsen contributed to this report.

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