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EU to probe Facebook user data misuse; Meredith closes Time Inc. UK sale

TOP NEWS

* The European Parliament plans to investigate the alleged misuse of Facebook Inc.'s user data, Antonio Tajani, president of the European Parliament, said in a tweet. EU Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova also intends to tackle the incident with the social media company and the U.S. government, Reuters reports. The U.K. Information Commissioner's Office is also working on acquiring a warrant to search the offices of Cambridge Analytica, according to a separate Reuters report.

* Meredith Corp. completed the sale of Time Inc. (UK) Ltd., a British media company with a portfolio of more than 50 brands, to Epiris Fund II LP. Time Inc. Meredith bought Time Inc. UK as part of its acquisition of Time Inc.

UK AND IRELAND

* SoftBank Group Corp. is eyeing the relisting of ARM Holdings plc, the U.K.-based chip designer it acquired in 2016 for $31.0 billion, London's Financial Times reports. SoftBank senior corporate officer Yoshimitsu Goto reportedly told investors that an IPO could be a potential exit strategy for the SoftBank Vision Fund, which is set to acquire a 25% stake in ARM.

* British telecom regulator Ofcom is launching the spectrum auction for 5G services on March 20, London's City A.M. reports. British Telecom unit EE Ltd., Hutchison 3G UK Ltd., O2 parent Telefónica SA, Vodafone Group Plc and U.S.-based Airspan Networks Inc. will participate in the auction.

* TalkTalk Telecom Group PLC's general manager of ultrafast broadband, Richard Sinclair, is jumping to rival Virgin Media to become its executive director of connectivity, the Financial Times reports. Liberty Global plc owns Virgin Media.

GERMANY, SWITZERLAND AND AUSTRIA

* T-Systems International GmbH will restructure to improve the composition of its workforce, Telecompaper reports, citing CEO Adel Al-Saleh's statement to Manager Magazin. The Deutsche Telekom AG unit's head cites that one of the strategies it has missed is to place enough employees in countries with lower wage costs.

* German commercial channel Sat.1 (DE) has bought the rights to popular Dutch series "De Luizenmoeder" (The Lousy Mother) from Dutch public channel NPO3. Its Sat.1 release date is not yet known.

* An Axel Springer SE spokeswoman denied that the company is looking into a capital increase, Reuters reports. The clarification comes after Manager Magazin quoted CEO Mathias Doepfner as saying that the company "could initiate a capital increase." The spokeswoman said Doepfner was merely stating an "abstract possibility."

FRANCE

* French broadcast regulator CSA will hold public hearings in March regarding the proposed sole control acquisition of Group News Participations by the SFR Group SA. The CSA board will hear from representatives of Vivendi SA unit Canal Plus SA, Iliad SA, Group News Participations and SFR.

* French Minister of Culture Françoise Nyssen said the government could legislate if competing TV channels and telecom operators cannot find a distribution agreement, Les Echos reports. The most extreme legislation could ensure that, like public channels, a "must offer" law would require free private channels to give their programs to telecom operators free of charge.

* Google Inc.'s Google Assistant will shortly offer transactional services in France. These could include making purchases, tracking packages and seeing the status of taxi bookings.

NETHERLANDS, BELGIUM AND LUXEMBOURG

* Vodafone Nederland has struck an agreement with ICT solutions provider Axians AB for the provision of the latter's communications service platform OMNIA to Vodafone customers.

* Anouk Kamminga and Willem van Zeeland will join Dutch public broadcaster VPRO on June 1, where they, together with Stan van Engelen, will form the new editors-in-chief of all content from the broadcaster, Villamedia reports.

NORDIC COUNTRIES

* Swedish operator IP-Only AB appointed Deputy CEO Frida Westerberg as president and CEO, replacing Henrik Ringmar. The move comes as IP-Only is changing focus from acquiring residential customers to the business sector.

* Nokia Corp. said it will partner with Lebanese mobile operator Alfa on deploying a 3G and LTE-Advanced Pro network using Nokia AirScale equipment. The companies also signed a memorandum to further evolve Alfa's network.

* Swedish biometrics company Fingerprint Cards AB is developing a facial recognition solution, initially for smartphones.

SOUTHERN EUROPE

* Shareholders and investors at Telecom Italia SpA have selected candidates for the Italian operator's board of directors in line with the scheduled shareholders' meeting on April 13. The company's shareholders are also proposing to set the board's seat to 11 members and for the appointed members to serve for three financial years.

* Spanish regulator Comisión Nacional de los Mercados y la Competencia has greenlit Telefónica's proposed methodology in determining prices for wholesale fiber optic offering, Broadband TV News reports. The move follows the approval of the wholesale regulation of broadband markets in February 2016, requiring the Spanish telco to provide wholesale new broadband ethernet service in Spain.

* Telefónica will conduct trials on an internet of things-enabled smartwatch device, developed by its IoT division, during a marathon event in April, Telecompaper reports.

* A court in Madrid has dismissed Vodafone España SAU's lawsuit against the management of ONO, a broadband company that the Vodafone unit acquired in 2014, Rapid TV News reports. Vodafone has earlier sought a €140 million compensation for allegations of VAT fraud against ONO's management, including former President José María Castellano, CEO Rosalía Portela and CFO Carlos Sagasta.

EASTERN EUROPE

* Lifecell LLC said it has acquired 2x30 MHz in the 2,600 MHz band and 2x30 MHz in the 1,800 MHz frequency, during the recent tender of licenses by Ukraine's National Commission for the State Regulation of Communications and Informatization. The Turkcell unit will be allotting the frequency bands for the development of its 4.5G network.

* Orange SA unit Orange Polska SA plans to begin tests for 5G in 2019 and to roll out the network between 2020 to 2021, Telecompaper reports. The implementation of the 5G network will, however, still depend on whether licenses for frequencies in the 3.6 GHz and 3.8 GHz bands will be awarded to operators.

* Polish operator P4, operating under the Play brand, has begun offering Eleven Sports Network Ltd.'s channels to its TV Play Now subscribers under its mini and basic packages, Telecompaper reports, citing Media2.pl.

* Russia's Federal Antimonopoly Service has launched a probe into Alphabet Inc. unit Google after the internet company ran an advertisement that featured online casino Volcano, Telecompaper reports, citing Vedomosti. Search companies are prohibited to present such advertisements in Russia.

* Yandex NV's cab-hailing service Yandex.Taxi has begun operating in Riga, Latvia, Telecompaper reports. Yandex.Taxi has partnered with 10 taxi companies and dispatcher services to run a fleet of about 200 vehicles in the country.

FEATURED NEWS

M&A Replay: Nokia completes purchase of US software firm; Apple buys Texture: S&P Global Market Intelligence provides a wrap-up of U.S. companies' media and communications deal announcements and completions from March 12 to March 16.

M&A Replay: European deals: Sky to share info on Disney/Fox deal; Nokia acquires Unium: British pay TV giant Sky agreed to share information in relation to the proposed deal between Disney and 21st Century Fox, while tech company Nokia completed the acquisition of U.S. software company Unium.

FEATURED RESEARCH

Economics of Internet: BroadbandTV and Vevo tops among YouTube MCNs in 2017: Most YouTube multichannel networks saw solid gains in viewing in 2017 came to a close, with viewer appetite remaining strong for the mix of music, entertainment, gaming and fashion content that many networks feature.

Daniela Latini, Amanda Kelly, Charlotte van Hek and Esben Svendsen contributed to this report. The Daily Dose has an editorial deadline of 7 a.m. London time. Some external links may require a subscription.