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Warner sells Spotify stake; Telia agrees to buy Bonnier Broadcasting, TDC

In this monthly Best of Nordics feature, S&P Global Market Intelligence provides a roundup of recent market developments in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland and Iceland.

TOP NEWS

* Warner Music Group Corp. sold its remaining stake in Spotify Technology SA. Warner Music Group CEO Steve Cooper said during an earnings conference call that the sale resulted in $126 million "credited to artist accounts on their June 30 royalty statements which are issued around the world in August and September," according to an Aug. 7 Variety report.

* Telia Co. AB on July 20 announced that it will buy Bonnier Broadcasting, the TV subsidiary of Swedish media group Bonnier AB, for 9.2 billion Swedish kronor. The acquisition will include Swedish commercial TV broadcaster TV4 AB, pay TV operator C More Entertainment AB and Finnish broadcaster MTV Oy.

* Telia has agreed to acquire the Norwegian business of TDC A/S in a deal that values the assets at 21 billion Norwegian kroner, or about $2.6 billion, according to a July 17 news release. The acquisition will include fixed and TV services provider Get AS as well as TDC's business-to-business operations in Norway, which together have 870 employees in total.

M&A

* Telenor ASA on July 31 said it has completed the sale of its assets in Central and Eastern Europe to PPF Group NV for an enterprise value of €2.8 billion. The Norway-based telco announced the deal March 21, which covered its mobile operations in Hungary, Bulgaria, Montenegro and Serbia, as well as service provider Telenor Common Operation.

* Ericsson on July 11 announced that it has agreed to divest unit Ericsson Local Services AB to Swedish communication infrastructure company Transtema Group AB. Under the deal, Ericsson will become a minority shareholder in Transtema and will be represented on its board.

INTERNET, OTT AND MOBILE

* Deutsche Telekom AG unit T-Mobile US Inc. reached a $3.5 billion, multiyear deal with Nokia Corp. to utilize its technology, software and services to launch T-Mobile's next-generation 5G wireless network, the companies said July 30. As part of the agreement, Nokia will help build T-Mobile's 5G network with 600 MHz and 28 GHz millimeter wave 5G capabilities compliant with 3GPP 5G New Radio standards.

* T-Mobile US on July 19 said that it has also rolled out its Narrowband Internet of Things service across the U.S., through its collaboration with various companies, including Ericsson and Nokia, to deploy nationwide narrowband IoT.

OTHER NEWS

* Spotify's Troy Carter is leaving the company, Variety reported July 30, citing a statement from Spotify CEO Daniel Ek. Carter, the streaming giant's global head of creator services and also the entertainment adviser to the $300 million Prince estate, will stay on until early September, after which he will move into an advisory role at Spotify.

* Fitch Ratings lifted its outlook on telecom equipment maker Ericsson to stable from negative and affirmed the long-term issuer default rating and senior unsecured rating at BBB-. The agency on July 27 said that the stabilization of the global mobile infrastructure market and Ericsson's improving financial performance, increased research and development expenditure, and continued cost-cutting. Ericsson booked a second-quarter net loss attributable to shareholders of 1.89 billion Swedish kronor, or 58 öre per share, compared to a net loss of 471 million kronor, or 14 öre per share, in the year-ago period.

* In its second quarterly report as a public company, Spotify saw its subscriptions jump 40% due to promotional efforts. However, the company widened its loss to €394 million, compared to a net loss of €188 million in the 2017 quarter, according to a July 26 earnings release.

* Nokia shares slipped July 26 after the Finnish telecom company's second-quarter net profit attributable to shareholders shrunk 68% year over year to €144 million from €449 million on a non-International Financial Reporting Standards basis. EPS for the second quarter was 3 cents, compared with 8 cents in the prior year, in non-IFRS terms, according to Nokia's earnings release.

* Microsoft Corp. unveiled a 10-inch Surface Go device, which features Intel Corp.'s 7th Generation Pentium Gold Processor 4415Y. Surface Go with Wi-Fi became available for pre-order July 10 in various countries, including in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden, the company said in a July 9 official blog post.

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