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MTG sells Bulgarian unit NOVA; BT puts unit up for sale

TOP NEWS

* Modern Times Group AB agreed to sell 95% of its shares in its Bulgarian unit NOVA Broadcasting Group AD to investment firm PPF Group NV for €185 million. The transaction values 100% of the business, according to a news release.

* British Telecom has tapped investment bank Greenhill to handle the sale process for the telco's cable-making business BT Cables Ltd., a unit within the BT Wholesale division, London's The Daily Telegraph reports. Greenhill is reportedly offering BT Cables to potential private equity buyers. The sale of BT Cables will enable BT to simplify its operations and focus on its main businesses.

UK AND IRELAND

* Sky plc's Sky Cinema will exclusively broadcast the 90th Academy Awards ceremony in the U.K. and Ireland. Sky Cinema Oscars, which will run from Feb. 26 to March 11, will feature a number of classics, including the first ever Best Picture winner "Wings" to mark 90 years of the Oscars, the company said.

* BBC Worldwide Ltd. agreed to license the rights to the game show format "You're Back in the Room" to Poland's ATM Grupa and Portuguese broadcaster SIC. The British Broadcasting Corp. unit also sold the format for reality dancing show "Dancing with the Stars" to Icelandic broadcaster Stod 2.

GERMANY, SWITZERLAND AND AUSTRIA

* Global private equity firm General Atlantic LLC is interested in acquiring a stake of between 30% and 40% in ProSiebenSat.1 Media SE's digital division, usurping interest from financial investors Verdane Capital and EQT, Handelsblatt reports. ProSiebenSat.1 had previously announced it was seeking a partner for its internet portals Verivox und Parship. Neither company has commented yet on the exclusive talks.

* Deutsche Telekom Capital Partners is set to invest $30 million in Berlin-based industry 4.0 company relayr, the latter said. The investment will enable relayr to further expand its core activities in the tech sector and continue growing in areas such as artificial intelligence-driven industry 4.0 connectivity.

* Deutsche Landkreistag and Vodafone Group Plc unit Vodafone Germany have jointly stressed the need for a further consistent fiber broadband expansion in Germany. DLT President Governor Reinhard Sager said there was a need for "comprehensive, high-performance broadband infrastructure" in the country.

FRANCE

* Stephane Richard will stay on for a third term as Orange SA's CEO on Feb. 20, Les Echos reports. Prior to the official announcement, French President Emmanuel Macron hinted at the decision by providing his advance congratulations to Richard on the renewal of his term for another four years.

* Groupe M6 and Bouygues Telecom SA signed a distribution agreement covering all Groupe M6 channels and related services and functionalities such as replay and on-demand. Groupe M6 said the two companies will also collaborate on the development of targeted advertising solutions.

* Vivendi SA unit Canal Plus SA launched in Myanmar through a partnership with entertainment group Forever. Canal Plus Myanmar will offer 80 thematic channels, including eight that are specially produced for the local market.

* Canal Plus announced a reorganization into three main divisions: France, International and Cinema. Maxime Saada, in addition to his duties as CEO of Canal Plus and Dailymotion SA, will also serve as chairman of StudioCanal. Meanwhile, Frank Cadoret has been appointed to the Canal Plus board.

NETHERLANDS, BELGIUM AND LUXEMBOURG

* Eleven Sports Network Ltd. said it has acquired exclusive rights to air Bundesliga matches in Belgium from the 2018-19 to 2020-21 seasons. The sports network also extended an agreement to broadcast Serie A matches for three years.

* The Dutch Council for Culture advised broadcasters RTL, SBS and NPO to intensify the promotion of their joint video-on-demand service NLZIET, in order to compete with other streaming services, TotaalTV reports. The council added that current regulations, which prohibit public broadcaster NPO from promoting a commercial service, are outdated and should be revised.

* Cable operator Delta expanded its services to the Dutch province of Noord-Brabant, Telecompaper reports. Delta will reportedly launch triple-play services in Meierijstad and St. Michielsgestel, and the offer will slightly differ from Delta's offer in Zeeland province.

NORDIC COUNTRIES

* Nokia Corp. has signed a five-year agreement with Tele2 AB to deliver Internet of Things services based on Nokia's worldwide IoT network grid to Tele2's enterprise customers. The services can be used by customers in several fields, including transport, healthcare, smart city and utilities, Nokia said.

* Ericsson AB said it has been selected by Canadian operator Eastlink Communications Corp. as its lead core network supplier for Voice over LTE and Wi-Fi calling. Ericsson will implement a 5G-ready core network with its Fast VoLTE solution, which supports HD voice and other communication services.

* Ericsson will move to a 100,000-square-foot, two-story office in India, from its current six-floor headquarters, India's The Economic Times reports. The company denied allegations that the company is reducing its staff as part of a global restructuring.

* The investment company of the family which controls clothing-retail giant H&M, DIG Investment, is one of the largest buyers of Spotify AB shares in recent years, Breakit reports, citing The Wall Street Journal. The number of DIG's shares in Spotify which it owns is unknown, but another large Spotify owner, Tiger Global Management LLC, has bought shares for $700 million since 2015.

SOUTHERN EUROPE

* Portuguese TV network SIC acquired broadcast rights for 2018 World Cup matches from Rádio e Televisão de Portugal, Telecompaper reports, citing Jornal de Negocios. The official agreement for SIC to air eight World Cup matches is anticipated to be signed in the coming weeks.

* Agcom has warned Telecom Italia SpA, Wind Tre SpA, Vodafone Italia, Swisscom AG unit Fastweb SpA and Sky Italia SRL that fines would be imposed on operators who continue to implement the 28-day billing practice, Telecompaper reports. The reminder comes after the Italian regulator has confirmed that fixed telephony plans with conditions of having a 28-day billing still exist.

* Orange España agreed to invest about €1.1 million for fiber-to-the-home installations in the city council of Lugones in Spain, Telecompaper reports.

EASTERN EUROPE

* Vodafone Czech Republic as eyes the rolling out of an IPTV platform toward the end of 2018, Broadband TV News reports, citing Digizone. According to sources, the operator has announced a tender for an IPTV supplier as part of the planned service.

* Russian-founded messaging platform Telegram has raised about $850 million, which the company will use to build blockchain infrastructure, as well as for the maintenance of Telegram Messenger, Telecompaper reports, citing a U.S. SEC filing. The funds were raised through an initial coin sale to private investors.

FEATURED NEWS

M&A Replay: European deals: TDC accepts takeover bid; Fox under pressure to hike Sky offer: The board of Danish operator TDC accepted a revised takeover offer from a Macquarie-led consortium, while 21st Century Fox is under increased pressure to boost its offer for British pay-TV giant Sky after the latter's Premier League rights deal.

M&A Replay: Google buys IoT platform; Microsoft acquires education startup: S&P Global Market Intelligence provides a wrap-up of U.S. companies' media and communications deal announcements and completions from Feb. 12-16.

Daniela Latini, Sylvia Edwards Davis, 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.