* Vivendi SA's Canal Plus Group SA Group announced the launch of a new subscription video-on-demand service called Canal+ Séries. The service, available March 12, offers thousands of hours of programming, including original series, from Showtime, FX and Studiocanal, from €6.99 per month.
* The U.S. government is pressuring Germany to bar Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. from building the country's 5G telecom network infrastructure by warning that using Chinese-made equipment could jeopardize intelligence sharing between the U.S. and Germany, The Wall Street Journal reports, citing a letter from the U.S. ambassador to Germany to the German economics minister.
* Former STX Entertainment executive David Kosse will join Netflix Inc. as head of its overseas film division in April, leading a team out of the streaming giant's London office, Deadline.com reports. Kosse, who previously served STX as president of international, will oversee all international movie production and acquisitions for Netflix in the newly created role.
* In a draft resolution that will be voted on this week, the European Union Parliament has expressed the need to protect its 5G networks, underscoring its "deep concern" that "5G equipment developed by Chinese companies may have embedded backdoors," Bloomberg News reports.
* A+E Networks' reality TV show "Seven Year Switch" will have its local productions in Italy and Finland and will be aired on Fox Life and Nelonen, respectively, TBI Vision reports. A+E Networks has had agreements for the local production of the show in other European countries, such as in Spain, Netherlands and the U.K.
UK AND IRELAND
* The British Broadcasting Corp.'s BBC Studios Ltd. will introduce BBC Earth on Chinese pay TV service BesTV, starting April 1, TBI Vision reports. The content agreement between BBC and the Shanghai Media Group Inc. unit follows a similar deal for CBeebies broadcasts.
* Nokia Corp. has issued a €750 million in senior unsecured notes that will be listed on the Euronext exchange in Dublin, said Nokia. The notes are due to mature March 11, 2026, and carry a 2% fixed coupon.
* About 40 members of Parliament from the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Rural Business wrote to British regulator Ofcom, requesting to monitor whether the U.K. mobile operators are keeping their commitments to improve mobile coverage in rural areas, Total Telecom reports. According to Ofcom's outlined plan, mobile operators in the U.K. must reach a 90% geographic coverage on their 4G networks.
* The U.K. government may soon announce a plan that would require individuals to provide proof of identification when accessing adult video sites as part of age verification procedures, U.K.'s The Independent reports. The final date for the implementation is to be revealed at a later time.
GERMANY, SWITZERLAND AND AUSTRIA
* Germany's Federal Network Agency targets to award local 5G frequencies in the second half, Reuters reports, citing a statement. The auction, which involves spectrum in the 3.7-3.8 GHz band for the industrial uses of 5G, is separate from the national 5G auction that is expected to start March 19.
* The German government is not expecting finance ministers of the European Union to clinch a unanimous deal on an EU-wide digital tax, which is expected to be discussed March 12, Reuters reports, citing a source. The government is reportedly still pushing for minimum corporate tax rates globally.
* Bertram Stausberg will become CEO of Axel Springer SE unit Axel Springer Print Management GmbH, beginning April 1, according to a news release. In Stausberg's new role, he oversees the print businesses by Axel Springer alongside Thomas Drensek.
* The draft bill dealing with hate content was submitted to the French parliament, Les Echos reports. Secretary of State for Digital Mounir Mahjoubi said that the draft, which could go to debate in May and be adopted before the summer, proposes that platforms remove hate content within 24 hours or risk a fine that may reach up to 4% of turnover.
* TF1 Group SA announced a share buyback program for a maximum of up to 10% of the capital, equivalent to 20,992,894 shares, at a maximum price of €20 per share. The shares purchased are intended to be cancelled.
* Slovenian broadband solutions provider Iskratel doo said it is teaming up with telecom engineering company Telenco Distribution for future-proof upgrades of fiber-to-the-home networks for telecom operators in France. Telenco Distribution will use Iskratel's product line-up for the initiative.
* French private equity firms Keensight Capital and ISAI Expansion FCPR acquired a majority stake in IVIDATA Group for an undisclosed amount. The acquisition was made alongside Etienne Aboulker, IVIDATA's co-founder and CEO.
NETHERLANDS, BELGIUM AND LUXEMBOURG
* Talpa Network has appointed Marco Louwerens as its new television director, responsible for Dutch TV channels SBS6, Net5, Veronica and SBS9. Louwerens, previously channel director of RTL7 and RTLZ at RTL Group's RTL Nederland, succeeds Karin de Groot, who was recently appointed managing director of ITV PLC unit ITV Studios Netherlands.
* Fiber-to-the-home provider Glasnet is developing a mobile offer on the Deutsche Telekom AG unit T-Mobile Netherlands BV network, Telecompaper reports. In April, Glasnet is anticipated to launch three sim-only bundles, including unlimited calls and limited mobile data ranging from 1GB to 20GB a month.
* KPN NV will include German TV channel RTL in HD in its Interactieve TV offer, TotaalTV reports. The channel reportedly broadcasts all Formula 1 races and qualifiers, of which a new season starts this week.
* Nordic Entertainment Group AB has extended its distribution deals with Danish TV distributors YouSee A/S and Stofa A/S, Modern Times Group said. NENT has also extended its distribution agreement with Comcast Corp.'s NBCUniversal LLC and have entered into a three-year deal with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc., according to separate news releases.
* Nokia said it has reached a 4G-related agreement with VEON's Pakistan mobile brand Jazz. The five-year deal will see Nokia support Jazz' plans to expand its 4G network and bolster coverage in densely populated cities like Faisalabad and Sukkur.
* Workforce management solutions company Teleopti AB has established a research and development office in Jönköping, Sweden. Recruitment will begin soon.
* Tieto Oyj said it has named Thomas Nordås as its new managing partner in Norway, said Tieto. Nordås will join Tieto's leadership network and will be responsible for establishing an innovation-led Digital Experience business in Norway.
* Vodafone Italia SpA is in talks with trade unions over plans to slash as many as 1,130 jobs under its latest business plan, Telecompaper reports, citing a statement. The layoffs, which correspond to 15% of the telco's workforce of about 7,000, would affect workers "in all company functions," the Vodafone Group PLC unit said.
* Italian antitrust regulator AGCM has begun probing the purchase of Mediaset Premium SpA's pay-TV technology and infrastructure platform R2 Srl by Sky Italia SRL and Sky Italian Holdings SpA, Advanced Television reports. The investigation will focus on, among others, how the deal could boost Sky PLC's Italian unit's dominant market position for access to the digital pay TV technical platform.
* Private equity funds eyeing Altice Portugal's fiber optic network have until March 15 to submit their nonbinding bids, Telecompaper reports, citing Jornal Económico. The Altice Europe unit is reportedly expected to select the preferred bidder by June.
* Activist hedge fund Elliott Advisors (UK) Ltd. is urging Telecom Italia SpA's investors to support its plans for the telco ahead of the March 29 shareholders' meeting. In a presentation, Elliott warned of TIM's return to "poor stewardship" under Vivendi. The French media group has hit back, refuting Elliott's claims it wanted to control TIM or to appoint anyone as CEO or chairman.
* The Italian government said there is no 5G agreement included in a deal being worked with China to join the latter's "Belt and Road" infrastructure plan, Reuters reports, citing Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte. The issue has been raised amid global security concerns over the use of equipment from Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd.
* The Polish government is urging Facebook Inc. to adjust its content blocking policies in accordance with local practices while also improving the platform's transparency, Telecompaper reports. The social media giant earlier agreed to launch a contact point that allowed users to appeal when their profile or content are blocked by Facebook.
* Hungarian operator DIGI Távközlési és Szolgáltató Kft. has rolled out a fixed-wireless access service to a limited number of subscribers, Telecompaper reports. The service is bundled with internet and phone packages, with customers having the option to subscribe to satellite TV.
* MegaFon said it has closed orders for two bond offerings of 5 billion Russian rubles each, which have an annual interest rate of 8.9%. The bonds' proceeds will be used for general corporate purposes. Separately, the Russian mobile operator said MegaFon Finance LLC has agreed to purchase 126,246,094 of the former's ordinary shares, or a 20.36% stake, at 659.26 rubles per share under the latter's mandatory tender offer.
* Lithuania's defence ministry is planning to roll out four data centers for state cloud infrastructure, Telecompaper reports, citing Vz.lt. A total of €5 million in EU funds will be invested in the project.
The Week Ahead Europe: EU to vote on Chinese tech security risk: The European Parliament will this week vote on security risks posed by the "rising presence" of Chinese technology suppliers within the EU, and on possible ways to reduce any threat.
Vivendi sells remaining Ubisoft stake; BC Partners closes United Group deal: French media group Vivendi has sold its remaining stake in video game publisher Ubisoft, while private equity firm BC Partners completed the acquisition of a majority stake in southeast Europe-based operator United Group.
The Best Of: Kagan research and analysis, editor's picks: Presenting the editor's top picks from Kagan's exclusive research and analysis for the week ended March 8.
Anne Freier, Sylvia Edwards Davis, Koen Pijnappels and Gerard O'Dwyer contributed to this report.
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