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Orange closes Liberian acquisition; Sony unit buys Turkish channels group


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Orange closes Liberian acquisition; Sony unit buys Turkish channels group


*Orange completed the acquisition of 100% of mobile operator Cellcom Liberiathrough its subsidiary Orange Côte d'Ivoire, according to a company statement.Financial terms were not disclosed. The acquisition of Cellcom Liberia, whichhad 1.4 million customers as of the end of December 2015, will enable Orange tostrengthen its position in Africa.

*Sony Pictures TelevisionInc. acquired a majority stake in Turkey-based channels groupPlanet TV, Digital TV Europe reports.The deal, financial terms of which were not disclosed, is subject to regulatoryapproval. The acquisition will allow the Sony Corp. unit to own four Planet TV channels andoperate them via a joint venture with former Planet TV majority owner SatisOfisi.

*Vivendi SA unitCanal Plus SA that it acquiredMiami-based content distribution company Alterna'TV from unitEutelsat Americas for an undisclosed amount. Alterna'TV distributes LatinAmerican channels to U.S. cable and IPTV operators. Canal Plus made thepurchase via its distribution unit Thema, which has an office in North America.The deal also entails a long-term agreement for Canal Plus to lease capacity oncertain Eutelsat satellites.


*Private equity firm 3i Group plc's 3i Infrastructure plc invested £75 millionin British towers company Wireless Infrastructure Group, accordingto a news release. The deal, which capitalizes WIG at about £300 million,grants 3i Infrastructure a significant minority stake in WIG. The transactionwill help WIG scale its business, as it seeks to invest £1 billion in U.K. telecominfrastructure. The deal is expected to close by the end of June, subject tothe European Commission's approval.

*ITV Plc is set toannounce that it hired BritishBroadcasting Corp. Drama Controller Polly Hill as part of effortsto reorganize its senior programming team, TheGuardian of London reports.ITV Director of Television Kevin Lygo reportedly offered Hill twice her BBCsalary to entice her to jump ship. Industry sources expect more seniordepartures from the BBC in 2016, partly due to uncertainty about the publicbroadcaster's future under a new charter, Broadcastreports.


*Deutsche Telekom AGreceived the go-ahead to build faster Internet connections through vectoringtechnologies, reportsDer Spiegel. The German Bundesnetzagentur confirmed its decision to allow themove. Deutsche Telekom plans to speed up Internet services for 6 million Germanhouseholds, leading competitors to complain about a re-monopolization,according to the report.

*The German prosecution Staatsanwaltschaft Mainz reportedly launched aninvestigation into TV ZDF moderator Jan Böhmermann, following his now deletedpoem attacking Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Meedia reportsthat investigations have been launched to identify insults againstrepresentatives of foreign states. A criminal conviction in such a case carriesa sentence of up to three years in prison.

*German eBusiness solutions provider Satzmedia expanded its leadership toinclude Filip Groß, who joins as chief technology officer, according to a newsrelease. His focus will be on enterprise content management systems as well ascommerce projects through which he will manage Satzmedia's strategic andtechnical business as well as internal business management.


*Vivendi will partner with Paris&Co, the economic development and innovationagency of Paris, to launch Le Cargo, accordingto a company statement. Le Cargo is a new startup funding incubator dedicatedto the cultural, creative and digital content industries. The founders of theinitiative are Betc, Boulanger, EM Lyon, Médiamétrie and Vivendi. Vivendi saidit will focus on young companies that promote diversity in their content andprojects. It will also encourage more women to venture into digitalentrepreneurship.

*Vivendi said that its decision to invest in Telecom Italia SpA was not intended to reduce the sizeof the telecom operator, reportsReuters. Vivendi was reacting to press reports suggesting 15,000 jobs could becut due to new competition in fiber optics from Enel. The company said it is inItaly to grow and invest for the long term, not to cut jobs. VincentBolloré-led Vivendi is the leading shareholder in Telecom Italia, holding a24.9% stake.

*Telecoms regulator ARCEP found that the average monthly bill for fixed andmobile telephones in France reached a new low in the last quarter of 2015, reportsLe Figaro. The average bill for fixedand mobile was €31.80 and €16.30, respectively, versus €32 and €16.80 in thethird quarter. These amounts, confirming the downward trend since 2010,represent a new record low for the sector of the French telephony. Telecomoperator revenues, excluding other revenues, declined 2.7% year on year,reaching €8.07 billion in fourth quarter 2015, compared to €8.3 billion in 2014.

*Altice NV'sNumericable–SFR saidin a news release that it placed $5.19 billion of 10-year senior secured noteswith institutional investors, upsizing the original offering of $2.25 billionlaunched on April 5. The proceeds will be used to repay the entire amount ofthe $2.4 billion of existing SFR debt maturing in May 2019, repay the €450million of drawings under its revolving credit facility, and repay the €1.9billion May 2020 term loans. The offering is the largest-ever sale of a singlejunk bond, The Wall Street Journal reports.

*The news website of French public broadcaster , France TV Info,was offline April 7 due to a one-day strike, reportsLes Echos. A statement from the unionreportedly indicated that staff members are opposed to the merger of France 2and France 3 news teams, concerned about a reduction in editorial quality, andare denouncing the use of the name France Info for a 24-hour news channelFrance Télévisions plans to launch in September.


*Websites may link to other sites which offer illegally obtained content, theAdvocate General of the European Court of Justice wrote in an opinion. Theopinion refers to a lawsuit between Dutch website GeenStijl and Playboy magazine, reportsDe Tijd. In 2011, GeenStijl posted alink to nude photos of the Dutch presenter Britt Dekker that were leaked to anAustralian website, without the consent of the Dutch Playboy publisherSanoma Corp. The AdvocateGeneral said that website administrators cannot always verify whether contenton other sites is legitimate.

*Belgian Koen Clement is stepping down as CEO of the Dutch publishing group WPG,a role he has held since 2008. He is returning to Belgium for personal reasons,reportsDe Tijd. WPG includes publishersZwijsen, De Bezige Bij and Standaard Uitgeverij.

*KPN NV's LoRa'network for IoT applications is now live throughout the entire Randstad region,the company saidin a news release. KPN says it will achieve nationwide coverage in June 2016.

*Tele2 Netherlands HoldingNV unveileda contract with Euronext-listed Docdata to handle logistics for orders on thebusiness mobile market. As a result, the ordering process will become moretransparent and flexible, the company said.


*Twitter Inc. isplanning to establish a presence in Sweden, and is looking for a local partnerto produce content, Breakit reports.Senior Director for Market Development in Germany, Austria, Switzerland,Holland and Russia, Rowan Barnett, reportedly said at a conference that thecompany is looking for people to build the business in Sweden.

*TDC A/S is beingcriticized by several organizations after the company said that it is notconcerned by the ideological aspect of the debate on session logging, Berlingske Business reports.The Danish government wants telecom companies to collect and archive Danishphone and Internet traffic. Many organizations and companies have said thatthis would be an attack on the customers' freedom, but TDC stated that this shouldbe left to politicians.

*Norwegian public broadcaster NRK offered all employees in its news organizationthe opportunity to apply for severance packages, Dagbladet reports.NRK reportedly said that it needs to cut jobs, and plans to downsize the newsdepartment.

*Danish media group Egmont Publishing launched its first international magazine,Mediawatch reports.RUM International focuses on housingand interior design, and was recently presented at the Design Shanghai fair. Itwill be sold in 20 countries in Asia, Europe and the U.S. It was launched afterdemand from foreign advertisers, readers and bloggers.


*Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi reiterated his government's goal to achieve"broadband everywhere" across Italy, Telecompaper reports.Speaking at an event in Rome, Renzi said the government aims to bringhigh-speed broadband with speeds of 30 Mbps nationwide by 2020, with half of theItalian population getting access to 50 Mbps broadband. During the event, powerutility Enel also bared plans to bring fiber broadband to about 7.5 millionhomes in 224 Italian cities, via its newly created venture Enel Open Fiber.

*Meanwhile, Enel CEO Francesco Starace said the company is still in talks withTelecom Italia over plans to build a national fiber broadband network, Reuters reports.Telecom Italia has reportedly been pursuing its own investments in fiberbroadband. Starace added that Enel will choose financial partners for its newunit Enel Open Fiber after summer 2016.


*Telewizja Polska SAis planning to make all of its proprietary content available on itsvideo-on-demand platform, Broadband TV News reports.TVP will also offer live coverage of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiroin August via the platform, according to the report.

*The Ukrainian government again postponed its switchover to digitalbroadcasting, to June 30, 2017, Broadband TV News reports,citing Pravda. Authorities reportedly said that digital frequencies are ownedby Zeonbud, a firm controlled by former President Viktor Yanukovych, whichcould pose a national security threat.


Data Dispatch:Thinking outside the box office: 'Boss' may be kryptonite forSuperman: Melissa McCarthy comedy "The Boss" might havethe last laugh at the box office this weekend, as DC's superhero flick losessteam.

The Mediator:Twitter makes 1st down with NFL streaming deal: Analysts say themove raises the profile of the microblogging platform and expands the NationalFootball League's presence globally with younger viewers.

Hires and Fires:Media & Comm management moves through April 6: SNL Kaganpresents a weekly rundown of executive changes in the media and communicationsindustries.

ConferenceChatter: VICE is not turning into a TV company: This week theglobal content industry gathered in the south of France for the annual MIPTVevent. VICE Media arguably stole the show as it made a string of multiscreenannouncements, which illustrated that the industry as a whole is experiencingan explosive uptake of digital formats.

ConferenceChatter: New European payment regulations stoke competition andinnovation: Regulation was top of mind at Money20/20 Europe inCopenhagen, as banks and financial technology firms grapple with the realitiesof implementing new rules set forth in the European Parliament's revisedPayment Services Directive.

Hires and Fires:European Media & Comm moves through April 6: SNL Kagan presentsa bi-weekly rundown of executive and board changes in the European media andcommunications industries.

The PayCheck: The 2015 pay packages of Google CEO Sundar Pichai CEO Jeff Bezos are among those highlighted in the latest installmentof The Pay Check.


: The domestic box office growth streak came to anend as week 14 box office was down 20.9% from $277.2 million in 2015 to $219.4million in 2016.

:HBO NOW was the second major network-backed stand-alone subscriptionover-the-top service to be released in the U.S., behind CBS All Access. To helpit better compete online, the company has made deals with Sesame Workshop, JonStewart and Bill Simmons.

: Slovenia is a small but well-developed pay TV market withpay TV penetration of more than 72% at end-2015.

Amanda Kelly, Anne Freier, Kees Pijnappels and EsbenSvendsen contributed to this report. The Daily Dose has an editorial deadlineof 7 a.m. London time. Some external links may require a subscription.