* Central European Media Enterprises Ltd.'s board is exploring potential strategic alternatives for the company. The board formed a special committee comprising independent directors to review its options, including the sale of part or all of the company, a merger with another strategic partner, a recapitalization, or continuing to execute on the company's long-term business plan.
* Spanish soccer league La Liga rolled out LaLiga Sports TV, an over-the-top sports service, Advanced Television reports. The new service offers content from the La Liga 1/2/3 lower league, as well as other sports including basketball, rugby, hockey and badminton.
* As the U.K. decides this week whether to extend the Brexit deadline to April 12 or May 22, as conditionally permitted by the EU, the implications of its exit on data privacy should become clearer. The EDPB suggested a five-step plan for organizations transferring data to the U.K. to prepare for a no-deal scenario, including deciding which transfer instrument will be used and updating their privacy notice to inform individuals.
* OMERS Pvt. Equity has launched a €300 million venture capital fund for European technology startups, Reuters reports. OMERS Ventures, which manages the Canadian private equity firm's assets, plans to invest about €5 million to €10 million per funding round, and will target companies eyeing series A and series B financing.
* About a thousand individuals in the creative industry have signed an online petition urging European Union lawmakers' support for the proposed revamp of copyright rules in the bloc, Reuters reports. The change in copyright rules is awaiting approval from the European Parliament and the EU Council.
UK AND IRELAND
* The landmark civil fraud trial over HP Inc.'s botched acquisition of U.K. software firm Autonomy Corp. plc started in London, with the U.S. technology giant accusing Autonomy founder Mike Lynch of inflating revenue figures before the company sale, media reports said. The company sued Lynch and former Autonomy CFO Sushovan Hussain for more than $5 billion on claims that the two manipulated their company's accounting information, resulting in an overpriced acquisition.
* Ireland-based ShinAwiL Productions is introducing an international drama division and will begin with three scripted content, TBi Vision reports. ShinAwiL will also oversee the production of A+E Networks' crime drama "Miss Scarlet and The Duke," the U.S. company's first scripted content, according to a separate TBI Vision report.
* Moody's upgraded Accenture PLC's long-term issuer rating to Aa3 from A1, with a stable outlook, citing its "entrenched" market position. The action reflects Moody's expectations that Accenture will remain the largest independent IT services firm, benefiting from "favorable" trends as companies migrate to digital and cloud-related solutions.
GERMANY, SWITZERLAND AND AUSTRIA
* A1 Telekom Austria AG has selected Nokia Corp. to expand its 5G mobile communications, according to a news release. The contract includes 5G radio access and cloud-native 5G core technology. América Móvil SAB de CV's Telekom Austria Group owns A1 Telekom.
* Vodafone Group PLC's Vodafone Deutschland Gmbh has completed the switchover of its cable network to digital services, which started in January, Digital TV Europe reports. The development means all of the Vodafone unit's customers will now be able to access TV and radio services in digital quality.
* CEO Christian Seifert of German soccer association DFL has slammed the "no single buyer" rule imposed by Germany's Federal Cartel Office in upcoming auctions of broadcast rights to Bundesliga games, Digital TV Europe reports, citing Süddeutsche Zeitung. The rule has reportedly drawn flak because it forces fans to subscribe to multiple services to watch all of the league's matches.
* M7 Group SA will use solutions from German IPTV service provider Brightblue for the supply of IPTV content on its satellite and livestreaming platforms, Broadband TV News reports.
* German groups, including Bundesverband Breitbandkommunikation, Bundesverband Glasfaseranschluss, Verband Privater Medien, as well as Deutsche Netzmarketing GmbH, have voiced their concern over a possible fusion between Vodafone Deutschland and Unitymedia. The open letter states that the fusion could lead to a monopoly of the cable market in the country.
* Iliad has announced its first employee share ownership issue, for a total volume representing about 0.5% of the number of shares in circulation, offered to 8,100 employees in France and Italy. The settlement and delivery of new shares should take place June 18.
* Facebook Inc. and Google LLC's YouTube are facing lawsuits from the French Council of the Muslim Faith for allowing the livestreaming of the recent terrorist attack at a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, Agence France-Presse reports. The council reportedly accused the tech giants of broadcasting content that is "likely to seriously violate human dignity and liable to be seen by a minor."
* Telecom regulator Autorité de Régulation des Communications Électroniques et des Postes published a map for the public to follow the deployment of 4G within the framework of the New Deal program.
NETHERLANDS, BELGIUM AND LUXEMBOURG
* T-Mobile Netherlands B.V. and OPPO Electronics Corp. signed a partnership agreement to improve collaborations on technology, including the rollout of 5G. Earlier this year, OPPO presented its first 5G smartphone, while the Deutsche Telekom AG unit is currently working on preparations for the rollout of 5G in 2020.
* The supervisory board of Dutch IT service provider PQR has appointed Erik Wiechers as the company's new CEO, Emerce reports. Wiechers is replacing Ronald Schaap, effective April.
* The U.S. defense department is in talks with Ericsson and Nokia to use the companies' technologies in its 5G development plans, Reuters reports, quoting Ellen Lord, the department's undersecretary for acquisition and sustainment. The report came amid efforts to exclude equipment made by Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. from U.S. networks over security concerns.
* Telia Denmark said it has appointed Suzaan Sauerman as new head of retail and small businesses. Sauerman is replacing Gustav Berghog, who has left the company.
* Telenor ASA said that Telenor Pakistan (Pvt.) Ltd. CEO Irfan Khan will take on the additional role as executive vice president and cluster head for Emerging Asia. Khan replaces Petter-Børre Furberg, who has taken up the position as CEO of Telenor Norway.
* Private equity firm Oakley Capital Investments Ltd. said it made its first investment in the Spanish market with an agreement to buy business software provider Ekon from Unit4 NV. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
* Apple Inc. acquired Stamplay, a startup developed at Italy's Rome Tre University, for about €5 million, Telecompaper reports, citing Il Sole 24 Ore. Stamplay's platform allows web developers to create and launch cloud-based web apps without coding.
* Austrian mobile virtual network operator Spusu is launching its business in Italy in 2020, Telecompaper reports, citing Der Standard. Spusu, which offers budget services, will operate via Hutchison Drei Austria GmbHHutchison Drei Austria GmbH's network.
* Central European Media Enterprises Ltd.'s board is exploring potential strategic alternatives for the company, according to a news release. The board formed a special committee comprising independent directors to review its options, including the sale of part or all of the company, a merger with another strategic partner, a recapitalization or continuing to execute on the company's long-term business plan.
* Media Alliance, a joint venture between National Media Group and Discovery Inc., is set to take over the distribution of Travel Channel, Food Network and Fine Living in Russia, Broadband TV News reports, citing Kommersant. The channels were previously distributed by Portico Media SC LLCa, whose former head Grigory Lavrov will become Media Alliance's CEO, according to the report.
* Hrvatski Telekom launched its first 5G network trial under real conditions in Croatia, Telecompaper reports. The Deutsche Telekom unit is also developing 5G devices that are expected to be available in the second half.
* Wieslaw Rozlucki and Federico Colom Artola are stepping down as members of Orange Polska SA's supervisory board, beginning on the day of the telco's annual general meeting, Telecompaper reports. Colom Artola is assuming other duties within the operator's parent entity Orange SA.
* Russian telecom watchdog Roskomnadzor has identified 3,238 unauthorized base stations that are operating against the country's spectrum regulations, Telecompaper reports. Of the total, 1,056 base stations are operated by VEON unit Beeline, 964 under Mobile TeleSystems PJSC, 906 under MegaFon MegaFon and 312 under Tele2 Russia.
M&A Replay: Dentsu unit buying creative agency; PE firm acquires fiber operator Celeste: Dentsu unit buying creative agency; PE firm acquires fiber operator Celeste
The Best Of: Kagan research and analysis, editor's picks: Presenting the editor's top picks from Kagan's exclusive research and analysis for the week ended March 22.
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