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Disney+ in Europe; Netflix's Spotify series; KKR on Axel Springer's board


* Walt Disney Co. could agree to multiple partnerships with pay TV and mobile operators in the U.K. to drive subscriptions to its Disney+ streaming service. The company is reportedly in talks with British Telecom as it prepares for the European launch of its streaming service in March. It could also try to bundle the product with Comcast Corp.'s Sky Ltd. — thanks to its 20 million customers across Europe — and mobile operator Telefónica SA's O2, analysts said.

* Netflix Inc. unveiled its plan to create a scripted series about Swedish-founded company Spotify AB. The upcoming limited series, which is inspired by a book titled "Spotify Untold," will be produced by Banijay Group SAS unit Yellow Bird UK and Young Wallander.

* KKR & Co. Inc. is seeking three seats on the supervisory board of Axel Springer SE, which the U.S. private equity firm acquired a major stake in, reports Meedia. The board has nine seats and it's unclear who will be vacating their chairs for KKR.

* The U.K.'s first general election since Facebook Inc. launched a database of political ads on the site, shows the three main parties have very different social media strategies. The Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats spent almost £2.3 million since Facebook launched the Ad Library in October 2018, according to data collected by S&P Global Market Intelligence.


* Banijay Rights Ltd. acquired Funwood Media to boost its distribution, production and licensing capabilities across Europe. The transaction also includes Funwood Media Italia Srl and Funwood Media Ibérica. The financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

* European Broadcasting Union's Eurovision Sport entered an agreement with Dentsu Inc. for exclusive media rights to the FIFA Club World Cup 2019 and 2020, to be aired on all platforms. The deal will provide free-to-air coverage across Europe.

* Mediaset SpA's Mediaset España Comunicación SA and Albanian digital TV service Digitalb acquired rights to Turkish drama "My Sweet Lie" from content distributor Eccho Rights, according to a news release. O3 Medya produced the series for Star TV.

* Walt Disney Co.'s ESPN (US) acquired rights to stream National Hockey League matches for its ESPN Player service across Europe and Africa, including Belgium, Italy, Spain, South Africa and Greece. Digital TV Europe reports. The deal will bring three live games per week during the regular season, together with on-demand access.


* Inc.'s Echo Buds, a rival to Apple Inc.'s AirPods, launched in the U.K. and is sold for £119, Metro reports. Echo Buds connect to Alexa through an accompanying smartphone app.

* British Telecom will launch a monthly pass that will allow people to watch sports matches, such as Premier League and Champions League, even without an existing contract, London's The Guardian reports. The pass will cost £25 a month.

* British regulator Ofcom said it began a consultation on a plan to impose new regulations in relation to frequencies and technical requirements for using devices, such as baby monitors, key-less entry cards, alarms and some wifi systems, in the 874 to 876 MHz and 915 to 921 MHz spectrum bands. The move is in line with a European Commission decision to harmonize the bands for short-range devices.


* Telefónica Deutschland Holding AG selected Finnish company Nokia Corp. and Chinese equipment maker Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. for its 5G network build-out, amid Germany's pending security guidelines on equipment suppliers, Reuters reports. Telefónica aims to begin infrastructure work in early 2020, and to launch the network in Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Cologne and Frankfurt by the end of 2021.

* Christine Scheil is stepping down as managing director of Sky Austria "for personal reasons," effective Dec. 31, Broadband TV News reports, citing sources. Neal O'Rourke, currently finance and strategy chief at Sky Ireland, will replace Scheil.

* Peter Kurer, the president of Swiss telecoms group Sunrise Communications Group AG, will not seek reelection during the general assembly in April 2020, reports Swiss newspaper Handelszeitung. No replacements have been announced yet.


* Vivendi SA's Dailymotion SA appointed Adam Irlando as the senior vice president of global demand. Based in New York, Irlando will spearhead the vision for Dailymotion's programmatic offerings to create strategic partnerships.

* Cmi France SA acquired Horsealot, a social network dedicated to enthusiasts of the equestrian world, according to CB News. The transaction was via a noncash sum and will allow CMI France to expand its "ultra premium database."

* France Médias Monde SA confirmed it will double the France 24 daily broadcast in Spanish from six to 12 hours, CB News reports. The channel is now broadcast in 17 of the 19 Spanish-speaking countries in Latin America.

* Orange SA's Orange Bank SA expanded its collaboration with Wirecard AG to offer all Android users in France to make mobile banking payments with Google LLC's Google Pay. The terms of the arrangement were not disclosed. Alphabet Inc. owns Google.


* Ericsson unit Red Bee Media Ltd. signed an agreement with Fox Corp.'s FOX Sports in the Netherlands to deliver MCR services to the sports channel. As part of the contribution and distribution, Red Bee will provide mobile encoding kits for 38 football stadiums, delivering signals from the Dutch premier and second tier league. Additional services include connectivity setups between BT Tower in London, the global MCR in Hilversum, other Red Bee hubs, as well as fully managed contribution services for Xee Denmark and ESPN Africa.

* Dutch regulator Authority for Consumers and Markets said it imposed a fine on an unnamed company for obstructing an investigation by deleting WhatsApp chat conversations during a raid, which is prohibited. ACM is authorized to perform unannounced company inspections if it has a suspicion that the Dutch Competition Act has been violated.

* Belgian operator Telenet extended its partnership with Infosys Ltd., which has been providing IT services to the provider for 19 years, reports Datanews. The value of the contract that Infosys obtains from Telenet was not disclosed, however, according to Infosys, the partnership will enable Telenet to save on operational IT costs and reduce the number of existing IT applications.


* Ericsson said it teamed up with TDC A/S for a new 5G project in Denmark, wherein the Swedish company delivered 5G equipment for a new pilot network rolled out in the city of Helsingør. Local partners will be allowed to test new services on the 5G network.

* Telia Co. AB joined Ericsson and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in a 5G-enabled driverless ship pilot project. The Trondheim-based project will harvest data from an autonomous ferry.


* Telecom Italia SpA and Vodafone Group PLC are expected to begin the sale process for a stake in their Italian tower business in the coming days, after tapping advisers, Reuters reports, citing sources.

* A consortium that includes Canadian pension fund OMERS Infrastructure Management Inc. made it to the final round of bidding for a 40% stake in Altice Portugal SA's fiber network business, Telecompaper reports, citing Bloomberg. Another unnamed group also reportedly expressed interest in the business. Altice Europe owns Altice Portugal.

* Vodafone Italia SpA rolled out gigabit fiber-optic services through Enel Open Fiber SPA's wholesale network in 10 more Italian cities, Telecompaper reports, citing MondoMobileWeb. The services were made available to customers in Arese, Barletta, Bisceglie, Campobasso, Catanzaro, Cosenza, Fabriano, Lanciano, Manfredonia, Modugno and Potenza.

* Eutelsat Communications SA signed a multiyear capacity contract with Spanish telecom operator Telefónica. It will use HOTBIRD, Eutelsat's key orbital position at 13° East, to broadcast RTVE free-to-air content, TVE Internacional Europa and 24 Horas, as well as six RNE radio stations.


* IT company 4iG Nyrt. ended talks with Magyar Telekom for its supposed acquisition of the latter's T-Systems Hungary unit. Following the move, 4iG and Magyar Telekom agreed to cancel the nonbinding heads of terms for the deal. Neither party disclosed further details about terminating the negotiations.

* A ban on Huawei's equipment from the 5G network build-out in Romania would make the country spend an additional €2.6 billion, Telecompaper reports, quoting Huawei Romania CEO George Zhang's statement to Ziarul Financiar.

* Telecom operators Rostelecom PJSC, MegaFon, Mobile TeleSystems PJSC and VimpelCom struck a deal for a joint venture to develop 5G services in Russia. The venture will not operate as a separate telco and will focus on research and technical support for the 5G rollout.

* Netia SA invested in the rollout of a ribbon multifiber network, which is expected to support future 5G demands and the further development of the Polish cable operator's data center services, Telecompaper reports.

* Telekom Slovenije d d named Tomaž Seljak as permanent president of its management board for a four-year term, after earlier serving as interim CEO, Telecompaper reports. The Slovenian telco also appointed Matjaž Beričič as a management board member in charge of technology.

* Boris Drilo will continue as Hrvatski Telekom's chief technology officer for a fresh three-year term, Broadband TV News reports. Drilo will also remain on the Croatian operator's management board.


Hires and Fires: Alphabet adds Nobel laureate to board; former Home Depot CFO joins Verizon board: Alphabet appointed Frances Arnold to its board, while Verizon Communications elected Carol Tomé to its board.


Global Multichannel: Western European operators exploring integrated pay TV, OTT offers: Operators in Western Europe's six largest markets are experimenting on the key retention strategy of selling bundles by combining them with subscription video over-the-top services.

Anne Freier, Amanda Kelly, Charlotte van Hek and Gerard O'Dwyer contributed to this report.

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