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T-Mobile Netherlands to buy Tele2's Dutch unit; BT, Sky to share content

TOP NEWS

* Deutsche Telekom AG struck a cash-and-stock deal that will allow T-Mobile Netherlands to acquire Tele2 AB unit Tele2 Netherlands. Under the agreement, Tele2 will get €190 million and a 25% stake in the merged company. Deutsche Telekom will hold the remaining 75% and infuse capital into the merged entity via a €1.1 billion intercompany loan, according to the companies' news releases.

* British Telecom and Sky plc have agreed to share content between each other's platforms following a multiyear agency deal, the companies announced in separate statements. Under the deal, BT will market and sell Sky's NOW TV, which contains Sky Sports, Sky Cinema and Sky Atlantic, among others, to BT TV customers. NOW TV will also be available on BT TV's set-top box.

* Thales Group has agreed to acquire Gemalto NV in an all-cash transaction for an offer price of €51 per share cum dividend. The proposed deal has been unanimously recommended by Gemalto's board of directors and unanimously approved by Thales' board of directors. Gemalto recently rejected Atos SE's acquisition offer.

PAN-EUROPEAN

* The European Commission approved the proposed sale of Toshiba Corp. unit Toshiba Memory Corp. to a consortium led by Bain Capital Investors LLC. The commission did not single out any competition concerns since Bain Capital-owned companies and Toshiba Memory do not compete with each other in similar or related markets.

* A European court has dismissed a request by the U.S. government to intervene in Apple Inc.'s appeal against the European Union order to pay back taxes to Ireland, Reuters reports. The judges of the European court ruled that the U.S. has "failed to establish the existence of a direct interest in the result of the case."

* Rivals of Google Inc. had been in talks with EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager over their discontent on the changes made by the Alphabet Inc. unit on its search results, London's The Daily Telegraph reports. Rival companies, which are preparing to file a formal complaint in the coming weeks, said that Google's actions were inadequate.

* The EU is eyeing to clinch a deal to allow businesses to transfer personal data between the bloc and Japan in 2018, Reuters reports. The EU executive is looking to consider declaring Japan as a country with adequate level of privacy to allow data transfer, EU Justice Commissioner Vera Jourová said.

* Uber Technologies Inc.'s online food-delivery platform UberEATS is set to offer insurance to its couriers in Europe, in a bid to address the labor conditions of "gig economy" workers, Reuters reports. UberEATS teamed up with AXA to provide insurance coverage for personal accidents as well as cash benefits for hospitalization, among others.

UK AND IRELAND

* British streaming platform TVPlayer has rolled out the network personal video recorder feature, which allows its paying subscribers to record content in the cloud, Advanced Television reports. Premium PLUS pack subscribers will have up to 10 hours of storage, wherein recording can be done simultaneously across multiple channels.

* British Broadcasting Corp.'s BBC Worldwide Ltd. and ITV Plc's subscription video-on-demand service BritBox will launch in Canada in early 2018, Advanced Television reports. The service will offer various content and will be available on web and mobile, as well as on Roku Inc., Apple TV and Chromecast devices.

* BBC Worldwide shows "Top of the Lake," "Top of the Lake: China Girl" and "Born to Kill" will be available in Latin America and the Caribbean via Sony Corp.'s SVOD service Crackle, Rapid TV News reports. BBC Worldwide and Sony Pictures Television Networks have entered into an agreement to offer these content in the region.

* The BBC has appointed Fran Unsworth as the company's news and current affairs director, effective at the start of 2018. Unsworth will be part of the executive committee and will oversee the company's news and current affairs programming.

GERMANY, SWITZERLAND AND AUSTRIA

* Amazon.com Inc. plans to open stationary businesses for the German market. Amazon Germany CEO Ralf Kleber told newspapers of the Funke Mediengruppe publisher that it was only a matter of time, reports Die Welt.

* Germany's Bundesnetzagentur said it has prohibited parts of mobile tariff options on Deutsche Telekom's StreamOn offering. The decision aims to keep the service in line with net neutrality stipulations.

* German technology retailer Media Markt Saturn has decided to expand the contract of COO Wolfgang Kirsch, reports Handelsblatt. Kirsch will be overseeing the company's operations, while CEO Pieter Haas will focus on the company's strategic orientation.

* German broadcaster Hessischer Rundfunk expects a deficit of €90 million for 2018. The company predicts that its expenditures will be €598 million compared to an income of €507 million.

FRANCE

* Mediawan SA has entered into exclusive talks with the shareholders of ON kids and family with a view to acquiring a 51% to 55% majority stake. Mediawan said the deal would significantly accelerate its development strategy in the production of content while marking its arrival on the buoyant animated films and series market.

* The French President Emmanuel Macron confirmed that he wanted to launch a "great work of reflection" on public broadcasting in 2018, reports CB News. Macron said he believes that broadcasting must adapt to new viewer uses and better meet its public service missions.

* Altice NV's SFR Group SA confirmed that the rollout of its fiber-optic network in the least densely populated areas will be completed as planned in 2020, in accordance with France's high-speed internet plan.

NETHERLANDS, BELGIUM AND LUXEMBOURG

* Vodafone Nederland announced that it will stop providing 3G mobile internet beginning January 2020 in order to improve coverage of the Vodafone Group Plc's 4G network. Vodafone writes on its website that customers are advised to switch to a 4G subscription.

* VodafoneZiggo CEO Jeroen Hoencamp, in an interview with NRC, stated that his company will stop broadcasting analog TV and radio channels within two to three years. He estimates that about 300,000 to 400,000 households in the Netherlands still view analog TV and that these customers will have to be supported in the switch to digital, which will likely happen in phases.

* Belgian public broadcaster VRT introduced a premium feature in its Sporza app, enabling users to access near live clips, such as goals and other highlights, from football matches against a fee of €3.49 per season. The paid feature was included due to the VRT's contract with the Belgian Pro League, according to the Sporza website.

NORDICS

* Telia Co. AB senior vice president and head of corporate holdings, Robert Andersson, is stepping down. He will remain in the company to hand over responsibilities to the executive management. Andersson's position will not be replaced.

* Tele2 AB's nomination committee has endorsed Georgi Ganev as the company's new chairman, to replace the departing Mike Partony. Ganev will assume the role in January 2018.

* Telia-owned Zitius AB has named Olle Svensson acting CEO, replacing Haval van Drumpt, who will head up Telia Lietuva AB's consumer services unit in Lithuania. Svensson was head of Zitius' City Network unit.

SOUTHERN EUROPE

* Amazon agreed to pay €100 million to settle outstanding tax claims in Italy, Reuters reports. The e-commerce giant reached the settlement with the Italian tax authority over back taxes covering 2011 to 2015.

* Telecom Italia SpA is close to sealing a six-year content deal with Mediaset worth about €400 million, Reuters reports, citing a source. The companies may reportedly announce the deal once Mediaset and Vivendi reach a settlement over their failed pay TV deal.

* Mediaset SpA shareholders approved several changes to its governance rules, including setting the number of board directors between seven and 15. The shareholders also approved replacing the procedure in nominating directors with a "blocked list" system instead of the current quotient system. The changes are expected to help limit Vivendi SA's control on the Italian broadcaster, Reuters reports.

EASTERN EUROPE

* As expected, SPI International unit Kino Polska TV SA said it agreed to take over the remaining 236 shares it does not yet already own in Cable Television Networks & Partners for about 10 million Polish zlotys. CTN&P operates terrestrial television channel Zoom TV.

* Yandex NV named Yelena Bunina as its new CEO, Telecompaper reports, citing Cnews.ru. Bunina will hold the top post and combine it with her earlier role as the internet search engine's human resources director.

* Croatian operator Vipnet secured exclusive rights to air the UEFA Champions League in the country, Telecompaper reports. The deal covers all live games on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, except one selected by public TV. Vipnet will air the matches via specialized TV channels from mid-2018.

* German automaker BMW unveiled a partnership with the Czech government and the country's Karlovary Vary region to build a test track for self-driving and electric cars in the Czech Republic. BMW will invest more than €100 million for the facility, Reuters reports.

FEATURED NEWS

Sky, BT cross supply deal shakes up Premier League sports rights outlook: Sky and BT's content sharing deal is the latest shakeup in the Premier League rights auction that is widely expected to top its record £5.14 billion agreement with the two pay TV giants, which surged 71% from the previous deal.

FEATURED RESEARCH

Wireless Investor: Technology advancements, new spectrum options revolutionizing road to 5G: The 5G world is getting closer much faster, thanks to big technology leaps and expanding spectrum options. And U.S. carriers head into this new high-speed, low-latency, massive-throughput world with a variety of spectrum portfolios and tools.

Anne Freier, Amanda Kelly, Charlotte van Hek and Gerard O'Dwyer contributed to this report. The Daily Dose has an editorial deadline of 7 a.m. London time. Some external links may require a subscription.