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Facebook removes Russia-linked accounts; Euskaltel adds Amazon Prime Video

Credit Suisse Research - Now Available in the S&P Global Market Intelligence Aftermarket Research Collection

Barclays Research – Now Available In The S&P Global Market Intelligence Aftermarket Research Collection

StreetTalk – Episode 71: Hotel sector faces tough sledding until full COVID-19 solution

Street Talk Episode 71 - Hotel sector faces tough sledding until full COVID-19 solution


Facebook removes Russia-linked accounts; Euskaltel adds Amazon Prime Video

TOP NEWS

* Facebook Inc. removed hundreds of pages, groups and accounts that may have been involved in "coordinated inauthentic behavior." In a Jan. 17 blog post, Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook's head of cybersecurity policy, said the company identified two Russian-linked campaigns that were intended "to mislead others about who they were and what they were doing" on the platforms for Facebook and Facebook's Instagram Inc. unit.

* Spanish regional operator Euskaltel SA is adding Amazon.com Inc.'s Prime Video service to its TV offer, Advanced Television reports. The streaming platform will be accessible to subscribers on Euskaltel's 4K Android-based set-top boxes.

PAN-EUROPEAN

* International Business Machines Corp. and Vodafone Group PLC unit Vodafone Business are setting up a new venture to drive 5G, cloud and artificial intelligence capabilities in Europe. The venture, part of an eight-year commitment valued at about $550 million, will become operational in the first half.

UK AND IRELAND

* British officials concluded that Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. fell short of improving its devices and software, including flawed engineering systems and aging component supplies, Bloomberg News reports, citing a source. The conclusions are expected to be revealed in the upcoming annual report of the Huawei Cyber Security Evaluation Centre Oversight Board.

* Oxford University is suspending its research donation partnership with Huawei due to security concerns, the South China Morning Post reports, citing the university's email to its computer science doctorate students. The decision was prompted by a story in The Daily Telegraph in which British lawmakers urged universities to be cautious over their links to Huawei, the newspaper reports, citing a source.

* British Broadcasting Corp. Deputy Director General Anne Bulford is leaving the public broadcaster in spring to work on a range of nonexecutive roles.

* BBC Studios CEO Tim Davie has refused the top job at the English Premier League, after Susanna Dinnage earlier withdrew her acceptance of the CEO post, London's Financial Times reports, citing sources. The league's managing director, Richard Masters, will act as chief executive on an interim basis.

GERMANY, SWITZERLAND AND AUSTRIA

* The German government has yet to decide on whether to impose a ban on Huawei after such moves by other countries, Reuters reports, citing the country's interior ministry. Industry group BDI has urged the government not to exclude any vendors from Germany's 5G networks in the absence of evidence against them, according to a separate Reuters report.

* Germany's network regulator has ruled that Deutsche Telekom AG can restrict fiber-to-the-building providers on the last mile of the copper cable line when its vectoring connection interferes with the fiber connection of a competitor, Die Welt reports.

* Vodafone Deutschland GmbH has launched beamforming in about 50 rural German communities, which have seen data connection speeds increase at home to up to 100 Mbps. The new technology enables a boost in available 4G capacity by about five times.

FRANCE

* Fnac Darty SA is in exclusive negotiations with Lagardère SCA to acquire ticketing specialist BilletReduc.com SAS via subsidiary France Billet for an undisclosed amount. The transaction is expected to be finalized in the first quarter.

* Iliad SA said its unit Free has partnered with Covage to work on France's public initiative networks in the regions of Calvados, Hérault, Haute-Savoie, Seine et Marne and Somme, as well as a number of metropolitan areas.

* French media investment vehicle Mediawan SA has refinanced a €230 million debt package, TMT Finance reports, citing sources. BNP Paribas SA, Natixis and Société Générale acted as coordinators, mandated lead arrangers and facility agents, while six other banks participated in the refinancing.

* Olivier Schrameck is stepping down as president of media regulator Conseil Supérieur de l'Audiovisuel, Le Figaro reports. His six-year term ends Jan. 23.

NETHERLANDS, BELGIUM AND LUXEMBOURG

* Eurofiber NV said it appointed Steven Klockaerts as chief information officer, effective Feb. 1. Klockaerts has been information chief at Telfort Zakelijk BV for the past two years.

* Cable provider Ziggo NV is working to modernize its cable network as it seeks to expand its 400 MHz bandwidth, TotaalTV reports. The expansion is in line with plans of Liberty Global PLC, which owns half of Ziggo's parent entity VodafoneZiggo.

NORDIC COUNTRIES

* Scottish investment management firm Baillie Gifford & Co. Ltd. has become the second-largest shareholder in Spotify Technology SA with a 9.7% stake, Di Digital reports, citing documents from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The stake is worth about $2.4 billion at the present share price.

* Ericsson, Singtel and Singapore Polytechnic launched Singapore's first live 5G facility at Singapore Polytechnic's campus. The facility, dubbed 5G Garage, will serve as a training center, test bed and ideation lab to develop the city-state's 5G ecosystem.

* Eltel AB unit Eltel Finland said it renewed its contract with operator DNA Oyj for another three years. Under the €39 million contract, Eltel will design, install and maintain DNA's fixed telecom network.

* Modern Times Group AB said it is soliciting approval from holders of bonds amounting to 500 million Swedish kronor to change the issuer to Nordic Entertainment Group AB, as well as change terms and conditions of the bonds. MTG is working to distribute all NENT Group shares to the former's shareholders.

SOUTHERN EUROPE

* Orange SA has tapped Credit Suisse Group AG to gauge a potential bid for Euskaltel, Reuters reports, citing TMT Finance. The French telecom giant has yet to decide on whether to pursue an offer for Euskaltel, according to a separate Reuters report, citing a source.

EASTERN EUROPE

* VEON Ltd. promoted Evgeniy Nastradin to CEO of its Beeline Kazakhstan unit, effective Feb. 1, the Dutch operator said. Nastradin, previously chief commercial officer at Beeline Kazakhstan, will assume the role vacated by Aleksandr Komarov, who was named permanent chief executive of VEON's Ukrainian subsidiary Kyivstar.

* U.S. asset manager Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. purchased a 5.5% holding in Russian search engine Yandex NV for $542 million, Telecompaper reports, citing Cnews.ru.

* Russian mobile operator MegaFon sold a 50% stake in its Cometrica unit, which focuses on commercial blockchain services, to holding company Forpost, Telecompaper reports, citing Vedomosti. Forpost is owned by businessman Anton Cherepennikov.

FEATURED NEWS

Data Dispatch: Netflix price increase feeds pre-earnings bulls: As Netflix prepares to report earnings Jan. 17, a price increase for its U.S. streaming subscribers is expected to drive up revenue and help the company pay for its expanded content budget in 2019, despite a potential short-term increase in churn.

FEATURED RESEARCH

Economics of Internet: Making a Netflix-killer: 2019 trends in subscription video on demand: Netflix may be the leader in the over-the-top video subscription race, but it also has a big target on its back as a pitched battle in the U.S. market with Amazon and Hulu gets even messier in 2019 as new competitors emerge.

RECENT EARNINGS

Netflix execs: Price increase to fund growing global content, margin expansion: Netflix will reinvest its profits from a recently announced price increase into its content, with a focus on expanding its local-language and international originals as it continues to tap debt markets to fund expenses, executives said.

Daniela Latini, Sylvia Edwards Davis, Koen Pijnappels and Esben Svendsen contributed to this report.

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