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European countries on Libra; ProSiebenSat stake; Italy's digital tax

TOP NEWS

* France, Germany and Italy are working on measures to block the use of Facebook Inc.'s Libra cryptocurrency, according to London's The Daily Telegraph, citing a statement from French Minister of Economy and Finance Bruno Le Maire. German finance minister Olaf Scholz expressed skepticism about Libra and reiterated the need for changes to the financial sector, a separate Reuters report said.

* Investors Daniel Kretinsky and Patrik Tkac acquired a 3.6% stake in German commercial broadcaster ProSiebenSat.1 Media SE via their investment group J&T Finance Group SE, reports Handelsblatt. Italian media group Mediaset SpA recently acquired a 9.6% stake in the broadcaster.

* The Italian council of ministers approved a 3% tax on digital companies under the country's 2020 draft budget, Telecompaper reports. The government is seeking to raise about €600 million per year under the new levy.

PAN-EUROPEAN

* European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, who is set to be the European Union's incoming digital affairs head, plans to take a look at regulatory solutions on ensuring fair competition in the bloc and lessen casework for the antitrust regulators, Bloomberg News reports.

* The European Union's antitrust regulators are examining potential competition issues on Apple Inc.'s Apple Pay, Bloomberg News reports, citing a statement from Vestager. The move comes after the competition commissioner received persistent notifications on her phone to install Apple Pay.

UK AND IRELAND

* Viacom Inc.'s MTV UK will air a two-episode documentary with a working title "Timberland Presents Nature Needs Heroes With Loyle Carner" under a partnership with global lifestyle brand Timberland, TBI Vision reports. The documentary, which will be produced by Rumpus Media, is expected to be aired later this year.

* Amazon.com Inc.'s Amazon Web Services UK Ltd. tapped more than a third of the U.K. market involved in storing and processing government-held data, including biometric details and tax records, The Daily Telegraph reports, citing leaked data. Amazon Web Services in the U.K. is said to have generated about £3.33 billion in revenues during the first six months of 2019.

* Cambridge-based speech recognition startup Speechmatics raised more than £7 million in funding, The Daily Telegraph reports. The company plans to use the funds to double its workforce from about 50 to 100.

* Media company Trace is introducing new channels Trace Urban, Trace Vault and Trace Latina in the U.K. through Sky Ltd.'s platform, effective Nov. 1, Digital TV Europe reports.

GERMANY, SWITZERLAND AND AUSTRIA

* Axel Springer SE plans to sell shares in its news app Upday to Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., reports DNV Online. Information obtained by the German cartel authority in regards to the sale was confirmed by a Springer spokesperson. Upday is a pre-installed app on a range of Samsung devices.

* German publisher Burda GmbH axed 30 jobs across its two women's magazines, reports Horizont. The move follows advertising losses and declining sales across the publications.

FRANCE

* Streaming joint venture Salto will receive an increased investment of about €135 million instead of €45 million over the next three years, reports Broadband TV News. A further €250 million is expected to be invested in programming from future revenues. Founded by France Télévisions SA, TF1 Group SA and Groupe M6, the subscription video-on-demand service is expected to launch in the first quarter of 2020.

* Technicolor SA responded to Moody's decision to downgrade its financial rating from B2 negative outlook to B3. The French multinational disagrees with the downgrade as it is only based on the first half of 2019. Moody's noted that it expects Technicolor will significantly improve its operational and financial performance in the second half of 2019.

* French telecom Orange SA is selling its business in Niger to settle debts owed to creditors and unpaid taxes, according to Reuters. Discussions are ongoing with the possible buyer, Zamani Com S.A.S.

* Vivendi SA's CANAL+ Group lost more than 200,000 subscribers since the beginning of the year, resulting in a drop in TV revenue in mainland France by 3.7%, according to Univers Freebox. Individual subscribers to the Canal+ channel continues to grow with a net gain of 99,000 subscribers over the year.

* Canal+ is selling its pay TV broadcast rights to the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo to Discovery Inc., for airing on sports network Eurosport, Digital TV Europe reports, citing L'Equipe. Canal+'s parent, Vivendi, reportedly decided to sell the rights to help avoid incurring expensive production costs as well as to create more channels for the sporting event.

* Altice France SA's SFR FTTH augmented its fiber deployment in the Nantes region, after confirming nearly 62,000 eligible outlets across 12 municipalities six months ahead of schedule. Over the past two years, Nantes also served as an experimental territory for 5G. Altice Europe owns Altice France.

NETHERLANDS, BELGIUM AND LUXEMBOURG

* KPN NV has started delivering the new 4K UHD loan decoder VIP5202 from manufacturer Arris, TotaalTV reports. KPN VIP5202 is based on a further developed model concept of Ziggo NV's Mediabox Next and is suitable for viewing 4K Ultra HD content.

* Ziggo will add the new hip-hop channel Revolt TV to its range of channels from the 1st of November, TotaalTV reports. On the same day, two 24-hour channel slots reportedly will disappear from the TV subscription Ziggo Movies and Series XL because the CBBC, CBeebies and BBC Four channels will disappear.

NORDIC COUNTRIES

* Telia Co. AB nominated Lars-Johan Jarnheimer as its next board chairman, replacing Marie Ehrling. Among other previous roles, Jarnheimer was CEO of Swedish telecom operator Tele2 AB. The Swedish government requested Telia's board to call for a special meeting of shareholders regarding Jarnheimer's appointment.

* TDC A/S subsidiary NetDesign A/S entered into a cybersecurity partnership with German insurer Allianz SE, reports Børsen. Under the deal, Netdesign will risk assess Allianz's corporate clients looking to buy cybersecurity insurance protection products.

* TV2 Denmark acquired the rights to DreamHack AB's content, such as certain ESL sports offerings covering 2020-2023. The package includes ESL's CS:GO tournament circuit and ESL Pro Tour. DreamHack and ESL are subsidiaries of Modern Times Group Mtg AB.

* ASSA ABLOY AB, through its subsidiary HID Global Corp., completed the acquisition of passport manufacturer De La Rue PLC's international identity solutions business. The business will be integrated into HID's citizen identity business.

* Nokia Corp. will power Telia Finland's 5G network at the Mall of Tripla under a new deal. Nokia's solution will comprise 5G base stations backed by small cell technology units.

SOUTHERN EUROPE

* Viacom International Media Networks Inc. acquired the remaining 50% stake it did not already own in Super Broadcast Srl, the parent entity of free to air children's TV channel Super! for an undisclosed sum, Advanced Television reports. De Agostini Editore SpA previously held the stake.

* Mediapro unit The Mediapro Studio, through Mediapro Argentina and Grupo América-owned América TV, are teaming up to develop and produce original content, Advanced Television reports. Under a three-year deal, the companies will develop three TV series for global distribution.

* beIN Media Group LLC commissioned its first Turkish original series, "The Choice," Digital TV Europe reports. The 13-episode series will premiere later this year on BeIN's over-the-top service BeIN Connect and the main offering of pay TV platform unit Digitürk.

* Sky Italia SRL began filming dystopian thriller "Anna," TBI Vision reports. Sky is producing the series with production company Wildside srl, Arte France SA and Fremantle-backed producer Kwaï.

* Italian telecom infrastructure company Retelit SpA is seeking shareholder approval in an Oct. 25 special meeting about the proposed share capital increase and transfer of its Africa-Asia-Europe-1 submarine cable business to its unit Retelit Digital Services SpA.

EASTERN EUROPE

* Russian pay TV operator Tricolor TV is in talks on a merger with industry peer NTV-Plus for 65 billion Russian rubles, Digital TV Europe reports, citing Fontanka.ru. A deal would also reportedly see NTV-Plus' parent company JSC Gazprom-media Holding taking a stake in the combined entity.

* Czech investment group PPF Group NV is nearing a deal to acquire a majority stake in media and entertainment company Central European Media Enterprises Ltd. from AT&T Inc., Reuters reports, citing Czech and Bulgarian media. CME has a market capitalization of $1.13 billion, according to the report, citing Refinitiv data.

* Mobile operator Tele2 Russia Telecom agreed to invest more than 385 million rubles in the rollout of telecom infrastructure in Russia's Kaluga region by year-end, Telecompaper reports, citing Comnews.ru.

* Fujitsu Ltd. will focus on selling data center solutions in Hungary through partner companies rather than directly, as part of the Japanese IT company's efforts to fine-tune its business model in the country, the Budapest Business Journal reports.

* Veon Ltd.'s joint venture unit KaR-Tel LLC, operating as Beeline, rolled out a large-scale 5G trial in Shymkent, Kazakhstan. The trial initially clocked a downlink speed of 1.0 Gbps.

FEATURED NEWS

The Best Of: Editor's picks: Netflix's growth prospects; Google's new Pixel phones: Stories about Netflix's growth prospects and encroaching competition, and Google's new Pixel phones, laptop, other devices are featured in the editor's technology, media and telecommunications top picks for the week ended Oct. 18.

FEATURED RESEARCH

Economics of TV & Film: SVOD services highlight local original strategies: Streaming service executives discuss programming strategies at MIPCOM.

Anne Freier, Amanda Kelly, Marieke Pijnappels and Gerard O'Dwyer contributed to this report.

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