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Google unveils latest UK tax bill; Hutchison unit, others eyeing Arqiva

TOP NEWS

* Google Inc. was charged £36.4 million of U.K. corporation tax in 2016, against recorded sales of £1.03 billion and a pretax profit of £149 million in the U.K. for the 12 months to June 30, 2016, BBC News reports. The country's Labour Party has criticized the search engine giant over its latest tax bill, saying it was still not paying its "fair share" of tax in the country. Alphabet Inc. owns Google.

* At least six global infrastructure investors are eyeing British towers operator Arqiva Ltd., currently valued at £6 billion, London's The Daily Telegraph reports, citing City sources. The interested buyers include CK Hutchison Holdings Ltd.-owned Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings Ltd., Singaporean sovereign wealth fund GIC, private equity firm KKR, 4M Investments, Allianz and French telecom towers company TDF.

PAN-EUROPEAN

* The European Commission will hold a European conference on connected and automated driving in Brussels on April 3 to April 4, according to the event's website. The gathering will gather road transport stakeholders to discuss a framework for developing and deploying automated driving technologies across the region.

UK AND IRELAND

* Sky plc bought digital channels company Diagonal View for an undisclosed sum, in an effort to increase engagement with young audiences who prefer to subscribe to digital TV, according to a news release. The current management of Diagonal View, including founder Matt Heiman, will remain with the company after the acquisition.

* Twitter Inc. is considering deals with Sky and British Telecom as part of its push into live video, London's The Daily Telegraph reports. Such deals will enable subscribers to watch full Premier League soccer games and TV series on the microblogging service, according to the report.

* British telecom regulator Ofcom said that it is considering slashing the wholesale price charged by infrastructure company Openreach to telecom operators for its high-speed broadband network. The regulator wants stricter requirements for Openreach to perform quicker fault repairs and broadband line installations, which must be met in full by the 2020-2021 period.

GERMANY, SWITZERLAND AND AUSTRIA

* Facebook Inc. restructured its senior management team for Germany, Austria and Switzerland, following the departure of director Marianne Bullwinkel, according to a news release. Henner Blömer, Kai Herzberger, Oliver Busch and Jin Choi will split the responsibility for the region, and will report to Martin Ott, Facebook vice president and managing director for central Europe.

* The Austrian Association of Private Broadcasters, or VÖP, criticized public broadcaster ORF's plans to enable its television content completely or partly available on YouTube, seven days after the original broadcast. The group said the planned YouTube channel would be unlawful, create market distortion and is self-destructive.

* The Bavarian State Institute for Media approved two new sport channels in Germany, My Team TV-Fußball and Best-Of-Sport, Digitalfernsehen reports. Both channels will be available via the digital platform Entertain by mid-2017. The channels will still need approval from German broadcast watchdogs KEK and ZAK.

* Germany's Federal Council approved a new version of the German Act Against Restraints of Competition, specifically giving publishers and broadcasters more opportunities to grow their business, including through mergers, Horizont reports. However, it also creates more challenges for startups and their buyers.

FRANCE

* French special-purpose acquisition company Mediawan said it completed the acquisition of Groupe AB for about €270 million. Groupe AB produces, distributes and aggregates TV content in French-speaking Europe.

* Radio France signed a new agreement with three trade unions to replace the former Collective Agreement for Communication and Audiovisual Production. The new agreement redefines the roles, salary structures and career development of 150 positions in the trades and management sectors.

* Three new appointments have been made to the senior editorial team at Elle, CB News reports. Geneve Doherty has been appointed artistic director, Brune de Margerie as fashion editor and Sophie Lamare as image director.

* TV network ARTE launched a new visual identity designed by British agency The Partners. The new design will continue to be improved until December 2017.

NETHERLANDS, BELGIUM AND LUXEMBOURG

* Belgium-based publisher Mediahuis appointed one of its directors, Marc Vangeel, to lead the company's proposed takeover of Telegraaf Media Groep NV, Nu.nl reports. Although the takeover has not officially been announced yet, Vangeel has stepped down from his other tasks at Mediahuis to focus on the possible takeover.

* The Luxembourg government, RTL Group, CLT-UFA and Bertelsmann SE & Co. KGaA signed a new contract covering the 2021-2023 period, according to a news release. According to the contract, RTL Group subsidiary CLT-UFA, will continue to produce and broadcast a public service TV program for the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, with the latter to finance part of the production and broadcasting costs for RTL Télé Lëtzebuerg.

* The amount of people in the Netherlands with a fiber network connection passed the 1 million mark for the first time in the third quarter of 2016, MediaMagazine reports, quoting the Telecommonitor from Dutch regulator ACM. The number of corporate fibre connections increased from 75,000 to 78,000 in the third quarter.

* Belgian regulator BIPT fined internet service provider EDPnet €10,000 for violating laws concerning electronic communications, according to an official statement. According to BIPT, EDPnet prevented customers from determining for themselves on which date they wanted to terminate their contract, and charged clients who did not comply with the regulations.

* Dutch provider Eurofiber began offering its customers a direct connection to Amazon.com Inc.'s Amazon Web Services, as an additional option under its Secure Cloud Connect services, Telecompaper reports. Secure Cloud Connect offers companies a redundant connection to cloud platforms via a fiber link that is separated from public internet to increase security.

NORDIC COUNTRIES

* Former Ericsson AB CEO Hans Vestberg will head one of Verizon Communications Inc.'s units focusing on fiber networks, Affärsvärlden reports. Vestberg was president and CEO of Ericsson from 2010 to 2016.

* Former Telenor ASA CEO Jon Fredrik Baksaas questioned the Norwegian competition authority's need to review Telia Norge's purchase of mobile network operator Phonero, e24.no reports. Baksaas said Telia Co. AB needs Phonero to better compete with Telenor in Norway.

SOUTHERN EUROPE

* Portugal's National Communications Authority, or Anacom, declined the European Commission's recommendation to open up a segment of Altice NV's national fiber optic network to its rivals, Reuters reports. Anacom said that its broadband network expansion had been conducted using multiple networks and the country's regulations allowed for rivals to invest in their own infrastructure.

* Subscribers of Mediaset SpA's online platforms will have to remove ad blockers before getting access to its digital content as the company will begin to ban ad blockers on all its online platforms, Rapid TV News reports. The Spanish media company also redesigned its websites Telecinco, Cuatro, Divinity, Factoría de Ficción, Energy and BeMad, including the addition of new advertisement formats.

* Italian telecom regulator Agcom launched a consultation to seek market interest in the various frequencies in relation to the 5G networks development in the country, Telecompaper reports. The regulator also wants to get a picture of the plans of operators in terms of new technologies and network architectures.

* Telecom Italia SpA invested €800,000 to launch a fiber-optic and 4G network in San Dona di Piave in the northeastern Italian region of Veneto and €1.5 million for the same technologies in Oristano, Sardinia, according to separate Telecompaper reports.

EASTERN EUROPE

* Russian operator TransTeleCom launched its IPTV service in partnership with Lifestream, working under the Smotreshka brand, Broadband TV News reports, citing Kommersant. The service is now available in 31 cities in Russia.

* Liberty Global plc unit UPC Romania teamed up with Ownzones Media Network for the rollout of an app called Ownzones Passport Romania, Broadband TV News reports. The app will be available to subscribers with Horizon advanced set-top boxes.

* Romania's Focus Sat extended its partnership with UPC DTH to launch three new channels, namely DocuBox, FightBox and Eroxxx HD, to its lineup, Broadband TV News reports.

FEATURED NEWS

MarketWeek: Viacom shares gain as Paramount Network reveals programming slate: A first glimpse of Viacom's slate of new shows for its rebranded Paramount Network appeared to resonate with investors during the week that ended March 31.

Considering consumer choice in a post-privacy age: The anticipated death of the FCC's privacy order raises important questions about how much control users expect over their personal data. According to some industry experts, the unvarnished answer is: Not much.

Conference Chatter: Tomorrow's TV experience is increasingly mobile: As the industry continues to grapple with the future role of mobile TV, panelists at TV Connect in London discussed its capacity to usurp linear TV as the main screen and its ability to woo live audiences.

FEATURED RESEARCH

Flat Q4 spending restricts FY 2016 cable CapEx to 5% YOY growth: The increasing adoption of IP/broadband services led to a shift in capital investment away from predominantly set-top boxes as of year-end 2016.

Economics of Internet: Social ad revenues soar to new highs in 2016: Social ad revenues generated by Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn soared in 2016 although Facebook was responsible for the lion's share of the gains, generating nearly 90% of total combined revenues.

Amanda Kelly, Stefanie Eschenbacher, Charlotte van Hek and Gerard O'Dwyer contributed to this report. The Daily Dose has an editorial deadline of 7 a.m. London time. Some external links may require a subscription.