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Apple, BT in pay TV deal talks; Google may face £3.3B compensation bill in UK

TOP NEWS

* Apple Inc. is in advanced discussions with British Telecom over a pay TV team-up, London's The Daily Telegraph reports. The British operator's unit EE Ltd. is eyed to become the major distributor of Apple TV set-top boxes.

* U.K.'s High Court is anticipated to issue a ruling on whether it will fine Alphabet Inc. unit Google LLC up to £3.3 billion for allegedly gathering data from iPhone users in the U.K. between June 2011 and February 2012, according to The Daily Telegraph.

PAN-EUROPEAN

* Google has improved competition in the online shopping space, Reuters reports, citing European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager. The news comes after the European Commission fined Google for its anticompetitive practices in 2017. The company has since submitted a progress report in September.

UK AND IRELAND

* The Premier League and Electronic Arts Inc. have teamed up to launch ePremier League, Advanced Television reports. The new eSports competition will commence in January 2019 and will be aired on Sky PLC's Sky Sports and on Premier League's social media accounts.

* The U.K. National Cyber Security Centre finds "no reason to doubt" Apple and Amazon.com Inc.'s assessments, which challenged an earlier report stating that their server motherboards were compromised in 2015 by a microchip inserted by Chinese spies, Reuters reports, quoting the Government Communications Headquarters' unit's statement.

GERMANY, SWITZERLAND AND AUSTRIA

* Sky Deutschland GmbH has acquired rights to air the Premier League for three seasons, beginning 2019-2020, Advanced Television reports. The deal will allow Sky Deutschland to provide exclusive and live broadcasts in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg and Liechtenstein.

* German public broadcasters ARD and ZDF (DE) are considering legal action against German political party AfD for allegedly using copyrighted material of the broadcasters on its social media channels, reports t-online.de.

FRANCE

* France Télévisions SA overseas division Director Wallès Kotra said France ô channel intends to build "a new visibility" for overseas territories within the company, with the coming phase-out of the channel by 2020, CB News reports. France ô's closure was decided in July by the government as part of the reform of public broadcasting.

* France has joined the Netherlands, Great Britain, Canada and Australia in accusing Russia of orchestrating cyberattacks, La Tribune reports. The spokesperson for France's Ministry of Foreign Affairs denounced "serious and worrying facts."

* Iliad has lost half its value since the beginning of the year, Univers Freebox reports. Following disappointing third-quarter results and loss of subscribers, the company is valued at €5.89 billion.

NETHERLANDS, BELGIUM AND LUXEMBOURG

* VRT NV has been given permission by the government to seek extra funds from VAR, the Belgian public broadcaster's unit that sells advertisement time, reports De Morgen. The broadcaster will receive an extra €3.6 million that will be used to eliminate shortfall in the budget.

* Dutch satellite TV provider Joyne BV will expand its offering with two music channels, effective Nov. 1, writes TotaalTV. Joyne will also add TV 538, a music channel owned by Talpa Media BV.

* Belgian operator Proximus has concluded fiber-to-the-home wholesale agreements with 14 operators in the past 12 months. Signed operators can access Proximus' fiber network via either ethernet VPN, bitstream or carrier services.

* Dutch provider KPN NV has reduced the number of locations that offer MDF Access, a service that ensures a connection through the company's copper network using local main distribution frame, reports Telecompaper. The move follows Dutch regulator ACM's analysis on wholesale fixed access stating that KPN no longer had to provide MDF Access at locations which no longer had any MDF customers.

NORDIC COUNTRIES

* Telia Co. AB has obtained clearance to acquire Get AS and TDC A/S' TDC Norway AS from Norway's Competition Authority. Telia will pay a total 21 billion Norwegian kroner for GET and TDC Norway.

* Bonnier AB will merge its Bonnier Business to Business unit with Bonnier News in January 2019. Bonnier Business to Business comprises business media and strategic niche knowledge and information services in the Nordics, Germany and eastern Europe.

* Facebook Inc. is looking to build a second data center in Denmark, writes Fyens.dk. Facebook is in talks with Danish authorities to locate the 250,000-square meter data center near Esbjerg. Facebook will open its first data center at Odense in Denmark in 2020.

SOUTHERN EUROPE

* Italian broadcaster Mediaset SpA, together with Fondi Italiani per le Infrastrutture Societa' di Gestione del Risparmio SpA, has completed the takeover of EI Towers SpA following a public offering. Mediaset will become a major shareholder of EI Towers, while infrastructure fund F2i will take charge of the tower operator's strategic management. Investors representing 97.45% of EI Towers' capital tendered their shares in the offering, Reuters reports, citing data from the Milan bourse.

* Telecom Italia SpA CEO Amos Genish said he intends to stay in his role despite unrest among the company's management, board and shareholders, Reuters reports, citing La Repubblica. Vivendi SA, TIM's largest shareholder, maintained its support for Genish, while at the same time accusing activist fund Elliott Management Corp. of initiating a "rumor campaign" against the CEO, according to a separate Reuters report.

* Italy's Benetton family, through Edizione Holding SpA, has sold its 20% stake in Spanish towers operator Cellnex Telecom SA to Infinity Investments, a fully controlled unit of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, Telecompaper reports. The deal's economic terms are the same as that of Edizione's purchase of a 29.9% stake in Cellnex Telecom from Spanish toll road company Abertis Infraestructuras SA.

* MásMóvil Ibercom SA-owned brand Yoigo is launching its Android-based TV service Agile TV in late October, Telecompaper reports, citing Expansión. The new platform, which includes a set-top box developed by media services group Technicolor, offers to 25 digital terrestrial TV channels, apps as well as range of on-demand and children's content in 4K resolution.

* Spanish media group Atresmedia Corporación de Medios de Comunicación SA inked a strategic content deal with Brazilian TV network Globo, Advanced Television reports. Under the agreement, which covers Latin America and the U.S., Globe will supply Atresmedia's TV series channel Atreseries with more than 500 hours of content per year.

EASTERN EUROPE

* The Albanian government believes Telekom Srbija ad Beograd's bid for Telekom Albania is "unacceptable" due to potential political issues, Telecompaper reports, citing Top Channel TV.

* Russian over-the-top platform ivi.ru Media Ltd. resumed the offering of some linear TV channels, including those operated by CTC Media Ltd. and National Media Group, Broadband TV News reports, citing Kommersant. Ivi earlier dropped some channels to its offer after complaints that the service did not strike direct agreements with the channels, amid a partnership with Rostelecom PJSC.

* ER-Telecom Director General Andrey Semerikov has stepped down after 17 years in the role, Broadband TV News reports, citing Comnews. Andrey Kuzyaev will take over the post to be vacated by Semerikov, who will become deputy board chairman at the Russian cable operator.

FEATURED NEWS

The Best Of: Media & Comm, editor's picks: Facebook security breach; Pluto TV's UK expansion: Stories about Facebook's latest security breach and Pluto TV's expansion into the U.K. ahead of European rollout are among the editor's top five story picks for the week ended Oct. 5.

FEATURED RESEARCH

Consumer Insights: YouTube (Red) Premium user profile: A young set of digital consumers makes up the user base of YouTube Red, now YouTube Premium.

Anne Freier, Sylvia Edwards Davis, Charlotte van Hek and Gerard O'Dwyer contributed to this report.

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