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Telecom Italia bids to acquire BT Italia; Zegona to up stake in Euskaltel


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Telecom Italia bids to acquire BT Italia; Zegona to up stake in Euskaltel


* Telecom Italia SpA has made a nonbinding offer to take over British Telecom unit BT Italia SpA, in a bid to help the latter recover from an accounting scandal, Bloomberg News reports, citing sources. CK Hutchison Holdings Ltd.'s Wind Tre SpA and fiber operator Retelit SpA are also reportedly interested in acquiring the business.

* Zegona Communications PLC intends to increase its stake in Spanish regional cable operator Euskaltel SA by up to a maximum of 12.5% through market purchases. The British company, which owns about 15.0% of Euskaltel, will no longer proceed with its earlier proposal of acquiring Euskaltel shares at a price of €7.75 per share. Zegona instead proposed placing a minimum of 95,238,096 new ordinary shares in the capital of the company to raise equity proceeds of at least £100 million.

* Mobile and cable provider Liberty Latin America Ltd. confirmed that it has submitted a "preliminary, highly conditional, nonbinding proposal" to acquire Luxembourg-based operator Millicom International Cellular SA. Liberty Latin America said there is no assurance that the ongoing talks about the offer will result in a deal. Reuters first reported on the proposed transaction.


* Discovery Inc.-owned broadcaster TVN SA commissioned Endemol Shine Group's Polish unit to produce a new season of reality format "Big Brother" in the country, which will air in the spring on TVN7. Finland's Nelonen Media also ordered its first edition of the series, to be broadcast on the Jim and Ruutu channels in the autumn.

* Turner Broadcasting System Inc. has selected Riccardo Donato to become vice president of commercial development for the company's U.K. and Nordic markets, Digital TV Europe reports. Donato will report to Pierre Branco, the company's senior vice president and general manager for northern Europe. Turner is a unit of AT&T Inc.'s Time Warner Inc.

* A+E Networks' U.K. unit has appointed Berry Liu as its ad sales director. Liu will be responsible for ad sales operations in the U.K. and international markets, including the improvement of the company's presence in Netherlands, Sweden, South Africa and central and eastern Europe.


* Uktv Media Ltd.'s video-on-demand service UKTV Play has updated its app on iOS, Android and Amazon FireOS. The improved version now includes UKTV's Home channel and offers synchronized viewing history. The updated app will also be rolled out on various TV platforms. Discovery Inc. and the British Broadcasting Corp. own stakes in Uktv Media.

* Apple Inc. chip supplier Dialog Semiconductor Plc has met its 2018 fourth-quarter revenue guidance despite a drop in iPhone sales, Reuters reports. Apple's acquisition of a part of Dialog Semiconductor's business, which is expected to close in 2019, is not anticipated to affect the chip maker's 2018 revenues.

* The financier of pro-Brexit advertisements on Facebook Inc. remains unidentified, despite the social network's transparency rule on political advertisements, London's The Guardian reports. Pro-Brexit group Britain's Future had spent £31,000 in the past week for about 200 adverts.


* The German government has once again rejected calls to sell its shares in Deutsche Telekom AG and Deutsche Post AG to finance the expansion of fiber-optic products in Germany, Golem reports. The billions required for fiber-optic expansion in Germany should not be financed through the sale of the government's telecom shares, the transport ministry said.

* The Austrian Consumer Information Association has filed a lawsuit against Inc. for the use of its Dash buttons, claiming it flouts EU law, Heute reports. Amazon reserves the right to deliver a different product other than the one preset in the Dash button.

* ProSiebenSat.1 Media SE has increased its stake in online broker for home services and products Aroundhome from 42% to 94%. The transaction, via e-commerce unit NuCom, values Aroundhome at €140 million.


* Video content discover platform Dailymotion SA has announced its partnership with Rajshri Entertainment. The agreement anticipates to expand the Indian video-watching experience by sharing premium Hindi video content.

* Véronique Cardi has been appointed president of JC Lattès Publishing, effective Jan. 28, according to Lagardere SCA. Cardi will remain general manager of the Livre de Poche and will temporarily assume both functions.


* Broadcasting Center Europe SA, a Luxembourg-based media services provider, has fully acquired online video services company Freecaster for an undisclosed sum. The deal is expected to help boost BCE's production capabilities and expand its product portfolio.

* Intelsat SA CFO Jacques Kerrest plans to retire following the appointment of a successor, the Luxembourg-based company said. The company has retained an executive search firm to help with its search for a new CFO.

* Dutch public broadcaster NTR General Director Paul Römer will step down March 1, NOS reports. Römer has been leading NTR for more than seven years, and is now reportedly looking for a new challenge.

* Walloon public broadcaster RTBF completed its transition to DAB+ from DAB, Mediamagazine reports. The broadcaster reportedly also updated its offer of radio channels, as well as the allocation of its digital ether capacity.

* Dutch fiber provider CAI Harderwijk has acquired the 50% it does not already own in its fiber network formerly owned by Sweden investment firm EQT Partners AB, TotaalTV reports.

* Belgian company De Persgroep has appointed Lauri Koop as CEO online services in the Netherlands and Belgium, effective March 1, Emerce reports. The publishing company reportedly decided to merge the Dutch and Belgian online activities.


* Spotify Technology SA signed a global content deal with Indian music label T-Series. Spotify users will have access to T-Series' entire Indian music catalog comprising more than 160,000 tracks across genres, such as Bollywood soundtracks, regional soundtracks and nonmovie albums.

* Telia Co. AB is a founding partner in a new AI Sustainability Center in Stockholm. The center was founded to address the ethical and societal contexts of artificial intelligence scaling and brings together companies, academic institutions, public agencies and civil society.

* The Swedish Post and Telecom Authority presented updated regulations for how operators are to plan for times of heightened preparedness. The rules include requirements like continued operations, controlling and transferring national traffic and making staff available for collaboration in case of a crisis.

* Telenor ASA has appointed Gry Rohde Nordhus as new senior vice president and head of communications. Nordhus assumes the position April 1.


* Vivendi SA said it "deplores" the "delaying tactics" of Elliott Advisors (UK) Ltd.-appointed board members at Telecom Italia, who have postponed the general meeting until March 29. Vivendi said the delay have a "greater negative impact" on TIM's financial results, citing a share-price drop of more than 40% since May 4, 2018.

* Video-sharing platform Vimeo LLC will pay €8.5 million in damages to Mediaset SpA unit RTI for its illegal hosting and failure to remove content from the broadcaster, Telecompaper reports, citing Corriere delle Comunicazioni. An Italian court ruled that the IAC/InterActiveCorp unit's acts infringed RTI's copyright.


* Bulgarian businessmen Spas Rusev and Kiril Domuschev are competing to acquire Modern Times Group's local unit NOVA Broadcasting Group AD, Broadband TV News reports, citing Capital. Rusev is reportedly teaming up with a large foreign company in its bid for NOVA TV. The report came after PPF Group NV terminated its planned acquisition of NOVA TV.

* Apple's mobile payment service Apple Pay is debuting in the Czech Republic at the turn of February to March, Telecompaper reports, citing

* Polish cable provider TOYA Sp zoo has acquired a majority stake in Fiberlink, an internet service provider in the country's Malopolska region, Telecompaper reports, citing The deal is expected to bring financial help to Fiberlink, which is currently working to deploy a fiber-optic network in areas south and east of Krakow.

* Orange SA unit Orange Business Romania named Frederic Marie Ruat and Xavier Ferry as its new directors, Telecompaper reports, citing Ziarul Financiar. Ruat and Ferry will hold their posts for the next four years.

* Belarusian cable operator Cosmos Telekom has claimed a first in the country for offering Ultra HD content, with the addition of the Ultra 4K Extreme channel to its line-up, Broadband TV News reports, citing a statement.


M&A Replay: European deals: Discovery buys Play Sports Group; PPF Group drops NOVA purchase: U.S. media giant Discovery acquired a majority stake in digital sports media company Play Sports Group, while Czech investment company PPF Group dropped its planned acquisition of Bulgaria's NOVA Broadcasting from Modern Times Group.

The Week Ahead Europe: No-deal Brexit could shake up data privacy outlook: The U.K. government has said that a no-deal Brexit scenario, whereby Britain leaves the European Union in March 2019 without an agreement in place, could require companies to draw up new legal frameworks for data transfers in and out of the EU.


Economics of Internet: Over-the-top in the Middle East and Africa: Current State of the Market: Kagan rounds up select over-the-top services in the Middle East and Africa that have been recently updated in our OTT Services & Devices database.

Daniela Latini, Amanda Kelly, Koen Pijnappels and Esben Svendsen contributed to this report.

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