In this monthly Best of Nordics feature, S&P Global Market Intelligence provides a roundup of recent market developments in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland and Iceland.
* Johan Dennelind will step down as president and CEO of Swedish telecom operator Telia Co. AB in 2020 to "take on new challenges," according to an Aug. 4 statement. Telia's board has started looking for a successor to Dennelind, who will remain in his role for the time being.
* Nexon Co. Ltd. said it is increasing its stake in Embark Studios AB to 72.8% from 66.1%, BusinessKorea reported Aug. 5. Nexon also announced that it will have the option to fully purchase the remaining shares of the Swedish company through Nexon stock over a five-year period, according to the report.
* Digita Oy, a provider of radio and TV broadcasting services in Finland, will acquire the terrestrial network pay TV business of telecom operator DNA Oyj for an undisclosed sum, according to a July 17 news release. DNA will continue providing pay TV services through its cable and broadband networks after the deal closes. DNA's terrestrial network pay TV subscribers will be transferred to Digita, effective Jan. 1, 2020.
* The European Commission on July 16 said it granted regulatory clearance to Telenor ASA's proposed acquisition of a 54.1% stake in Finnish telecom operator DNA for €1.5 billion in cash. The European Union's executive body said the transaction would not raise antitrust concerns due to the "very limited" overlaps in the companies' activities in several markets.
* German utility E.ON SE has acquired Swedish critical infrastructure provider Coromatic AB. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Stockholm-based Coromatic has more than 5,000 customers in the Nordic region. It will operate as an independent subsidiary under its own brand and with current management, according to a July 12 news release.
INTERNET, OTT AND MOBILE
* Telecom operator Turkcell Iletisim Hizmetleri AS teamed up with Swedish tech giant Ericsson to perform a 5G speed test in Turkey over a 5G-compatible smartphone. The speed test, which yielded maximum download speeds of 2.283 Gbps, was performed using Turkcell's network and 5G-ready SIM card on the Oppo Reno 5G smartphone, according to an Aug. 6 statement.
CONTENT, CARRIAGE AND LICENSING DEALS
* Pivotal Research Group analyst Jeffrey Wlodarczak downgraded his rating on Spotify Technology SA shares to "hold" from "buy," citing the company's premium-subscriber miss for a second consecutive quarter. In a research note, Wlodarczak said despite favorable year-over-year premium churn trends and monthly active user growth, the premium subscriber growth is "all that matters." The analyst reduced Spotify's premium subscriber outlook at 257 million premium subscribers by 2025, down from 264 million previously. Spotify CEO Daniel Ek said the company is focused on providing users with more personalized, premium experiences and the strategy is paying off in user growth, despite a second-quarter miss on a key user figure.
* RTL Group on July 11 said it will merge United Screens AB and Divimove GmbH, its digital video businesses in the Nordics and Germany, respectively. The Luxembourg-headquartered company said the move targets to turn Divimove into a European digital studio and platform for digital content creators.
* Nokia Corp. updated its outlook for the year to slight growth from flat as it continued to grab 5G equipment deals with operators around the world. The Finnish company won nine commercial 5G contracts in the quarter, to total 45. Its 5G customers include Japan's SoftBank Corp., Mobile Telecommunications Co. KSCP's unit Zain Saudi Arabia, Malaysia's U Mobile Sdn. Bhd. and Telia Co. AB in Denmark.
* Swedish software company IFS AB may list on the stock market as early as next year, Bloomberg News reported July 24, citing IFS CEO Darren Roos. Roos said a potential listing of the company was "very likely."
* Moody's revised its outlook on Ericsson's ratings to positive from stable and affirmed its senior unsecured long-term rating at Ba2, citing progress in the company's restructuring programs, an overall positive execution of its strategic plan and expectations for more improvements in credit metrics.
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