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AMC Entertainment eyeing European cinema chain; Liberty Global linked as likely O2 buyer


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AMC Entertainment eyeing European cinema chain; Liberty Global linked as likely O2 buyer


*AMC Entertainment HoldingsInc. could offer to buy European cinema chain Odeon & UCICinemas Group at a valuation of up to $1.3 billion, Bloomberg News reports,citing two people familiar with the matter. AMC recently began putting togetheran offer for the movie chain, which is owned by Terra Firma Capital PartnersLtd., sources said. Wang Jianlin, chairman of AMC parent Dalian Wanda GroupCorp. Ltd., previously denied interest in acquiring Odeon & UCI, accordingto the report. According to its website, as of December2015, Odeon & UCI Cinemas operates 243 cinemas and 2,238 screens across theU.K., Spain, Italy, Germany, Austria, Portugal and Ireland.

*The European Commission's decision to blockThree owner CK Hutchison Holdings Ltd.'s proposed £10.25 billion of 's O2, the U.K.'s second-biggestmobile network, leaves the door wide open for to consider a bid,analysts told SNLKagan. The regulatory intervention led to speculation that Liberty Global mightshow interest in O2. Liberty Global CEO Mike Fries recently said the cablegiant would evaluate "all options" regarding an O2 takeover andconfirmed it has been "engaged in some conversations all along the way."

*Vodafone Group Plc'sVodafone Portugalstruck a deal with NOSComunicações SA to acquire the former Optimus fiber network,Telecompaper reports,citing Dinheiro Vivo. Portuguese regulators have set the network's sale as acondition for approving the Optimus-Zon merger in 2013, which formed NOS.Optimus' assets are mainly in Lisbon and Porto cities. Terms of the transactionwere not disclosed.


*British Telecom isworking on a new stand-alone general entertainment channel that will directlycompete with Skyplc's Sky 1, Broadcast reports.The proposed channel will reportedly have non-scripted original formats andU.S. shows. BT TV general manager of content Jonathan Boseley is heading theproject, which is currently in the early stages of development, according tothe report.

*TalkTalk Telecom GroupPLC strucka deal with BT, allowing TalkTalk TV customers to access BT Sport channels on arolling monthly contract starting in June. Mobile access via the BT Sport app,and on all six red button channels will also be offered from September. Pricingdetails have yet to be revealed.

* Inother TalkTalk news, CEO Dido Harding welcomed the European Commission'srejection of the Three-O2 deal in the U.K. In a company statement,Harding reiterated that reducing the number of U.K.'s mobile operators to threefrom four will stifle competition and increase prices for consumers. Hardingalso repeated calls for British regulators to take action regarding"significant competition issues" surrounding BT's continued ownershipof infrastructure firm Openreach.


* Inc. beganoffering one-hour deliveries in Berlin, the first city in Germany to get theservice, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitungreports.The service is available for Amazon Prime customers and costs an additional€6.99. Prime customers can also get their goods within two hours or choose adifferent delivery window on the same day free of charge. Amazon's Germany headRalf Kleber reportedly said that about 20,000 items will be initially offeredfor one-hour delivery.

*Bertelsmann began 2016 with increased profits thanks to its TV broadcastersubsidiary RTL Group,Handelsblatt reports.The Gütersloh, Germany-based company reported first-quarter net profit grewalmost 30% to €185 million. Sales remained near unchanged compared to a yearearlier at €3.95 billion.  The EuropeanTV and productions business of RTL Group, in which Bertelsmann holds a 75%stake, especially contributed to the better results, according to the report.

*Germany's Union and SPD political parties agreed on a pact to change thecountry's Wi-Fi laws, Spiegel Online reports.A much criticized law that makes cafe and bar owners responsible for internetsurfing behavior of customers will be dropped, paving the way for open Wi-Fihotspots that are not protected with a password or login page. Germany'sParliament could make a decision on the issue in its next weekly session, whichmeans the change could come into force by fall.

*Axel Springer SEreported increased first-quarter earnings thanks to its growing digitalbusiness, Handelsblatt reports.The publisher of the Bild and Welt newspapers grew operating profit by5.2% to €125.9 million compared to a year earlier, meeting analyst estimates.Sales stayed almost unchanged at €783.4 million, which Springer attributed toselling some operations as well as merging its Swiss business with localpublisher Ringier. The company stuck to its full-year forecast of lowsingle-digit sales growth.


*According to its 2016 first-quarter results,Altice NV revenue fell2.7% to €4.26 billion from a year earlier. Growth in the U.S. and DominicanRepublic was offset by declines in France and Portugal. In France, 's EBITDA droppedby 9% to €851 million and revenue declined 6.1% YoY to €2.57 billion. OverallAltice Group added 67,000 postpaid mobile customers and 105,000 fiber broadbandcustomers. Altice confirmed it expects to complete its planned of U.S. cableoperator Cablevision SystemsCorp. in the second quarter.

*Vivendi SA said in a statementthat Havas Group Chairman and CEO Yannick Bolloré is joining its supervisoryboard. Bolloré's appointment follows the resignation of Philippe Donnet and issubject to ratification at Vivendi's next general assembly.

* Inan exclusive partnership, Samsung Electronics France and launched myCANAL surSmartTV Samsung, according to a statement.The offer provides access to Canal+ content directly from a Samsung television,without a TV box or decoder. To access the Canal+ channels, customers cansubscribe at the store where they purchase their TV, directly via their TV, orby telephone. The offer applies to Samsung 2015 SmartTV series 5, 6 and 7, willbe available soon on all 2016 SmartTV 2016.

*Iliad SA said in a statement that itapplied to be a mobile operator in Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Reunion Island,Martinique, Mayotte, Saint-Barthélemy and Saint Martin. The application is partof the auction for 3G and 4G spectrum in the French overseas departmentslaunched by the French telecom regulatory authority ARCEP. The application forReunion Island and Mayotte was submitted via the company Telco OI, in whichIliad is a joint shareholder with Axian. Iliad would invest around €100 millionin the rollout of its services in these territories. ARCEP saidthe review process is expected to last several months.

*French pay TV channel Canal+ lost more than 183,000 subscribers in the firstquarter of 2016, reportsLe Figaro. The number of currentsubscribers stands at about 8.3 million as of March 31, according to figuresreleased by Canal+ parent Vivendi. In one year, Canal+ has lost more than400,000 subscribers, according to the report.


*Belgian provider Proximus upgraded its network and announced the launchof Voice over LTE later in 2016, according to an official statement.The provider said it successfully tested 4.5G technology, which supports speedsof 1.1 Gbps. According to Proximus, the innovations will open the door to newservices such as 2K/4K video, virtual reality and augmented reality.

*Alibaba Group HoldingLtd. opened its first office in the Netherlands to manage itsoperations across the Benelux, NRC reports.The Chinese giant appointed former head of Dutch retail chain Blokker Holding,Roland Palmer, as managing director of the Amsterdam-based unit. With theestablishment, Alibaba is planning to increase the export from Belgium and theNetherlands to China.

*The Russian judiciary began a fraud investigation against Dutch media entrepreneurDerk Sauer and the leadership of Russian media company RBK, of which Sauer wasdirector until 2015, newspaper DeVolkskrant reports.Sauer and the leadership of RBK are suspected of fraud in a stock transactionwith a web hosting company. The Dutchman reportedly denied any wrongdoing andsaid the investigation is an attempt to put RBK, one of the few independentmedia companies in Russia, under pressure.

*Dutch fiberglass provider CBizz started to roll out its services at thebusiness park Elzenburg and De Geer in the Dutch municipality of Oss, accordingto Telecompaper. CBizz earlier provided parks in the towns of Oss and Maldenwith its services. About 400 businesses will be eligible for the fiberconnections at the new sites. The provider is working with local partners toenlist more businesses for the service.

*The new Dutch country channel Nashville TV is now available in more Dutchhouseholds after fiberglass provider CAI Harderwijk added the channel to itsoffer, TotaalTV reports.Recently, the country channel was added by Foundation Kabel Veendam, or SKV.Nashville TV is being offered to providers along with the music channels TVOrange and Schlager TV in a so-called Music Kiosk distribution package.


*Grameenphone Ltd., TelenorASA's Bangladesh-based subsidiary, is actively opposing efforts ofits employees to unionize, The international Uni Global Union sent a letter of concern to Norway'sMinister of Trade and Industry Monica Mæland stating that Grameenphone'semployees have waited over three years to register their Grameenphone EmployeesUnion with state authorities in Bangladesh. Telenor owns a 55% equity holdingin Grameenphone.

*The Swedish tele-operator IP Only will invest 1.5 billion Swedish kronor toroll-out high speed fiber broadband across Halland county and region by 2020, reportsSydsvenskan. The project will becarried out in partnership with Region Halland municipality. The objective forRegion Halland is to become the first county in Sweden to achieve 100%digitalization. Under the project, all households that located outside the coregrid will be offered connection at a unit price of around 19,900 kronor.

* Acollaboration with Fingerprint Cards resulted in the integration of PreciseBiometrics AB's Precise BioMatch Embedded into in the joint FPC-BM, accordingto a news release. The FPC-BM was developed as a complete embedded biometric module solutionthat can be used for applications including access control, industry and healthcare, automotive, and Internet of Things.

*Swedish tech professionals staged a protest outside the Swedish parliament tohighlight the lack of tax incentives for startup companies, reportsDI Digital. The protesters included digital and telecom tech professionals fromNorway, South Africa and the U.S. working for enterprises in Sweden. Theprotest was inspired by a warning from Spotify Ltd. co-founders Daniel Ek and Martin Lorentzonthat the company may consider moving its headquarters and operations out ofSweden if pro-enterprise startup tax laws are not introduced.

*Schibsted ASAdelivered a strong first-quarter 2016 result. Significant operating revenuegrowth emerged in the company's Online Classifieds division, the company saidin a statement.The Norwegian company is seeing growth in online classified ads traffic both inEurope and in new markets such as Brazil and Mexico. Schibsted Media grewonline classifieds' revenues by 19% in France and by 18% in Spain. It reportedfirst-quarter operating revenues of 3.88 billion kroner. In contrast, grouprevenues were 3.69 billion in the first quarter of 2015.


*Italian power utility Enel SpA is preparing a sweetened bid for a controlling stake infiber optic firm Metroweb SpA, Reuters reports,quoting two sources familiar with the matter. Enel's new bid would valueMetroweb at about €820 million, thus matching a rival from . Prime MinisterMatteo Renzi reportedly endorsed Enel.


*Russia's Federal Antimonopoly Service delayed its decision to impose a fine onGoogle Inc. over itsAndroid antitrust case, Reuters reports,citing the RIA news agency. An FAS official reportedly said the ruling waspostponed to May 31 after a request from the Alphabet Inc. unit. The regulator earlier that Google abused itsdominant market position by pre-installing certain apps on Android-powereddevices.

*VIVACOM launched itsLTE network, which initially covers the cities of Sofia, Pernik and Vratsa,Telecompaper reports.The Bulgarian operator is aiming to expand its LTE coverage to 44 citiesnationwide by the start of September.

*Polish satellite operator nc+ is planning to offer mobile Internet services dubbednc+internet in fall of 2016, Telecompaper reports,citing The Vivendi-owned company will bundle mobile Internet with TVservices, in a bid to compete with similar services provided by .

*Telia Estonia named Kirke Saar its new chief technology officer, effective May14, Telecompaper reports.Saar will take over from Tiit Tammiste, who is leaving the Estonian telco atthe end of the week. Meanwhile, Kadir Kale will also be Telia Estonia's new CFOfrom July 1, replacing Valev Tonisson. Holger Haljand will also replace PiretMurk-Doubot as director of the Telia Co AB unit's retail division on a temporary basis.


: The evolution of IoT involves harnessing a wealthof data from an increasingly connected world, according to speakers at a recentindustry conference.

: SNL Kagan presents a rundown of board changesin the media and communications industries.

: In this monthly feature, SNL Kaganprovides a roundup of news related to over-the-top, video-on-demand and otheronline video initiatives in different Asian markets.

: Analystsbelieve that the European Commission's decision to formally block Hutchison'sproposed acquisition of O2 leaves the door wide open for Liberty Global toconsider a bid.

: During its newfrontfeaturing the tagline "People are the New Media," Fullscreen Mediaexecutives announced that the company has been restructured into separatedivisions.


: Scripps Networks Interactive's surginginternational results were in stark contrast to its peers, many of which arebeing pulled down by currency headwinds.

: As Yankee great Yogi Berra oncesaid, "It's déjà vu all over again." The DVD and Blu-ray video retailmarket continued its downward slide for the ninth year in a row.    

: There was a lot of focus on distribution this earningsseason, with Hulu announcing a live-TV streaming service and its potential tobe a competitor to the traditional bundle, but advertising dollars were stillon the minds of the cable network owners.

: With 11,448 Verizon Wireless towersnow under its roof, American Tower replaced Crown Castle as the largest U.S.tower owner.

: Mobile revenues of the three leadinglocation-based services companies that report financial data grew by 61.5% from$167.4 million in 2014 to $270.4 million in 2015, with advertising comprisingthe bulk of revenue.

Amanda Kelly, PatrickWinters, Charlotte van Hek and Gerard O'Dwyer contributed to this report. The DailyDose has an editorial deadline of 7 a.m. London time. Some external links mayrequire a subscription.