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CK Hutchison to fully acquire Wind Tre; BBC, Channel 4 discuss UKTV takeover bid

TOP NEWS

* CK Hutchison Holdings Ltd. has agreed to acquire VEON's 50% stake in Wind Tre SpA for €2.45 billion. CK Hutchison will fully own the Italian operator upon the completion of the deal, which is expected in the third quarter.

* The British Broadcasting Corp.'s BBC Worldwide Ltd. is in talks with Channel 4 (UK) to lodge a £500 million bid to take control of UKTV Media Ltd., London's The Guardian reports. BBC Worldwide began seeking for a partner for the planned takeover since it does not have enough resources to acquire Discovery Inc., which owns a £500 million stake in UKTV, the report said.

UK AND IRELAND

* Facebook Inc. is acquiring London-based startup Bloomsbury AI Ltd. for $23 million to $30 million, TechCrunch reports, citing sources. The move to acquire the startup is said to be intended to help the social network tackle fake news and other content issues.

* Liberty Global PLC's Virgin Media will air the Wimbledon finals on Eurosport 1 and 2 HD. Ultra HD will be available to subscribers with a V6 TV box and a compatible 4K TV.

* TalkTalk Telecom Group PLC is adding the subscription video-on-demand content of preschool learning and entertainment app Hopster into TalkTalk TV. It will be included in TalkTalk TV's Kids TV subscription.

GERMANY, SWITZERLAND AND AUSTRIA

* Constantin Film AG may consider moving its headquarters to Cologne or Berlin from Munich, CEO Martin Moskowicz told Tz in an interview.

* German software company SuSE LINUX GmbH has been sold to financial investor EQT from Micro Focus International PLC. The company will continue to operate independently after the completion of the deal.

FRANCE

* Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Bolloré signed a memorandum of understanding and announced a broad partnership agreement. The partnership includes cloud services, clean energy and mobility, innovation and digital transformation, and logistics.

* Vivendi SA will exit from Fnac Darty SA's capital but will continue to develop partnerships. Vivendi will settle the hedging transaction for its 11% stake and will receive a cash payment of €267 million, equivalent to the €91-per-share hedge price. The initial investment was €159 million in May 2016, equivalent to €54 per share.

* SFR Group SA's management and main unions have extended the 2016 agreement on voluntary departures, La Tribune reports. Union sources said the renewal is valid until Dec. 31, 2020, including the Altice NV unit's commitment to retain at least 10,000 employees until June 30, 2019.

NETHERLANDS, BELGIUM AND LUXEMBOURG

* Orange Belgium is satisfied with the decision of Belgian telecom and media regulators to encourage competition in the broadband and broadcasting markets. The Orange SA unit also writes that the decision enables the telecom operator to possibly launch an internet-only package in the future.

* The Dutch parliament aims to have broadband internet of at least 100 Mbps by 2023 for the entire population, and for most to have a 1 Gbps broadband connection, Nu.nl writes, based on a plan anticipated to be published July 3. The plan also reportedly contains the objective for the Netherlands to maintain a leading position in the field of mobile internet.

* Dutch regulator Authority for Consumers and Markets said that a regulation that will ensure free choice of modem or router in a broadband subscription will possibly be introduced by the end of 2018. The report also states that a method for measuring internet speeds is currently being developed by BEREC, and ACM expects to implement it by the end of 2019.

* Proximus has started rolling out a fiber network in the Antwerp district of Diamantwijk, as part of the 10-year fiber action plan announced in 2016. The entire plan is expected to cost at about €3 billion.

* Belgian telecom regulator BIPT said Lycamobile Belgium will be fined €225,183 for noncompliance with regulations on identification for prepaid SIM card users. BIPT also obliges Lycamobile to immediately activate a system for verifying prepaid customer identities and to validate user identification documents of SIM cards sold after Jan. 25.

NORDIC COUNTRIES

* H&D Wireless AB plans to raise 37.4 million Swedish kronor via a rights issue to fund new internet of things, cloud and platform pilot projects. The proposed rights issue comprises a maximum of 8.79 million shares at a subscription price of 4.25 kronor per share.

* Victory Partners VIII Norway has presented a voluntary cash offer to buy all shares in Link Mobility Group ASA. The offer values all shares in LINK at 3.4 billion Norwegian kroner. Victory Partners VIII is indirectly owned by funds managed by ABRY Partners II LLC.

* Telia Co. AB has so far repurchased 1.97 million of its own shares. The share repurchases form part of a 5 billion Swedish kronor share buyback programme launched in April.

SOUTHERN EUROPE

* Industry observers believe Amazon.com Inc. might seek to acquire minority lots of broadcast rights to Spanish soccer league La Liga over the coming three seasons, Advanced Television reports. There are four lots of rights up for grabs, with most granted to Telefónica SA.

* The Spanish government has approved a plan to provide compensations and financial aids to broadcasters and users affected by the reorder and migration of digital terrestrial TV frequencies in the country, Advanced Television reports. The migration, which entails freeing up the 700-MHz band for 5G services, is expected to be completed by March 2020.

* Meanwhile, the Spanish government also appointed Tomas Flores as the new chief of public broadcaster RTVE, Reuters reports. The appointment of Flores, who currently heads RTVE's Radio 3, follows issues over the broadcaster's former bosses who were criticized for their perceived support for former Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's administration.

EASTERN EUROPE

* Serbian regional broadcaster RTV Kanal M has been sold by its owner Dejan Mihajlovic to entrepreneur Radoica Milosavljevic for an undisclosed sum, Broadband TV News reports, citing B92. RTV Kanal M, which has been operating since 1997, is distributed free-to-air and via cable.

* Belarusian state-owned infrastructure operator beCloud and Turkcell have teamed up to develop LTE and 5G technologies in Belarus, Telecompaper reports, citing Providers.by. The deal entails, among others, Turkcell's plan to invest in beCloud's 5G network expansion project.

* Cisco Systems Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. have completed 5G tests in Romania, in partnership with Orange Romania. The trials entail the use of Samsung's 5G solutions and Cisco's equipment through Orange's network.

* The so-called Yarovaya law, which sets conditions for telecom operators in Russia to retain customers' voice content and messages, has taken effect, Telecompaper reports, citing Comnews.ru.

FEATURED NEWS

M&A Replay: Gray, Raycom agree to merge; AT&T buying AppNexus: S&P Global Market Intelligence provides a wrap-up of U.S. companies' media and communications deal announcements and completions from June 25 to June 29.

FEATURED RESEARCH

Consumer Insights: Streaming media players and sticks are top in home streaming device ownership: Excluding mobile devices, streaming media boxes/sticks are the most common streaming device among U.S. internet households.

Anne Freier, Sylvia Edwards Davis, Koen Pijnappels and Gerard O'Dwyer contributed to this report.

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