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Google, others could face UK ads probe; CK Hutchison weighs Italy towers sale

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Google, others could face UK ads probe; CK Hutchison weighs Italy towers sale

TOP NEWS

* The U.K. Competition and Markets Authority is "actively considering" opening a probe into the digital advertising market, a move that could hit tech companies such as Alphabet Inc. unit Google LLC and Facebook Inc., London's The Guardian reports. CMA CEO Andrea Coscelli said such an investigation would be conducted together with British media and telecom regulator Ofcom.

* CK Hutchison Holdings Ltd. is considering options for its mobile phone towers in Italy, including a potential sale that could value the portfolio at about US$1 billion, Bloomberg News reports, citing sources familiar with the matter. The conglomerate, which tapped advisers for a strategic review of the business, is reportedly eyeing the start of a formal sale process before the end of 2018. Talks, however, are at an early stage and may not necessarily lead to a deal.

PAN-EUROPEAN

* Broadcom Inc. said it has obtained antitrust approval from the EU on its proposed acquisition of CA Inc., clearing the final regulatory hurdle to complete the $18.9 billion deal. The buyer expects to complete the acquisition Nov. 5, the first day of the company's fiscal year 2019.

* Canada's Stingray Digital Group Inc. acquired DJ-Matic, a European provider of in-store media solutions for businesses. DJ-Matic, which has clients in Belgium, Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands, will remain under its current leadership team following the acquisition.

* EU lawmaker lawmaker Christel Schaldemose has proposed amending the draft rules to prevent unfair business practices, Reuters reports. The Danish lawmaker suggests that online marketplaces must not be allowed to use merchants' data to increase sales of brand products or to provide them to third parties.

* U.S. company Zayo Group Holdings Inc. has expanded its fiber networks in London, Paris, Dublin and Amsterdam. These networks connect with Zayo's global fiber network, buildings and data centers.

UK AND IRELAND

* Comcast Corp. will shortly begin the compulsory buyout of the remaining shares of Sky PLC that it does not already own. Comcast, which just closed its acquisition of a majority stake in the British pay TV operator, had received from Sky shareholders acceptances of its takeover offer representing about 95.32% of the existing issued share capital.

* In relation to the Comcast/Sky deal, Sky CEO Jeremy Darroch, COO and CFO Andrew Griffith and five other directors have sold the shares they own in the company, according to a regulatory disclosure. Darroch and Griffith will both receive cash payments in exchange for the shares they sold. Darroch received about £37 million, while Griffith got about £17 million, London's The Guardian reports.

* British-American billionaire Len Blavatnik is preparing to split his sports media business Perform Group Ltd. and sell half of it to help fund plans to create a Netflix Inc.-like sports streaming service, London's The Daily Telegraph reports, citing City sources.

* The Los Angeles production unit of British Broadcasting Corp.'s BBC Studios has struck a deal with Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. unit Lionsgate Television to co-develop original content and scripted formats for the U.S. market, the companies said.

* U.K.-based private equity firm Bregal Milestone invested an undisclosed amount in Dublin-based information technology solutions and networking firm Arkphire Ireland Ltd., according to a news release. The transaction was made through Bregal Milestone's €400 million pan-European fund.

* Richard Bruton has been named as Ireland's new minister for communications, climate action and environment, the lawmaker confirmed in a tweet. Bruton will take over from Denis Naughten who was forced to resign after alleged ties with a U.S. businessman bidding for a broadband license, Dublin's Irish Independent reports.

GERMANY, SWITZERLAND AND AUSTRIA

* German telecom group freenet AG is considering selling its 24.5% stake in Swiss telecom provider Sunrise Communications Group AG, Handelsblatt reports, citing Bloomberg News' interview with freenet CEO Christoph Vilanek.

* German cable provider Tele Columbus AG said it has secured financing of €75 million advised by Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

* Swisscom AG said it has launched its own eSports platform called Swisscom Hero League, through its partnership with eSports company Electronic Sports League. The operator will begin its qualification phase in November.

* The board of directors of Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR) has officially supported the online ambitions and projects proposed by the German broadcaster, according to a news release.

* Dutchman Pieter Haas has stepped down as CEO of Germany's Ceconomy AG, the parent company of electronic retailers MediaMarkt and Saturn, effective immediately. Haas' departure is due to Ceconomy's disappointing sales record and decreasing value. A successor for Haas has not been found yet.

FRANCE

* Orange SA said it is collaborating with Google on its 6,600-kilometer Dunant submarine cable, which will connect the U.S. to France's Atlantic coast. The project aims to launch services in late 2020.

* Orange is also formalizing its agreement between private investment and public initiative zones for the deployment of fiber to inhabitants throughout the municipality of Orne. By 2023, fiber will cover the whole of Orne, with 50% in the private investment zone deployed by Orange on its own funds and 50% in the public initiative zone, as part of a public service delegation set up by the Orne County Council.

* The French municipality of Sanary-sur-Mer, in partnership with Altice France SA's SFR, has announced the arrival of fiber-optic services with broadband speeds of up to 1 Gbps. The 16,000 homes and business premises in the area are expected to have fiber access by the end of 2020.

* Eden Capital Management LLC said it purchased Tour de Force Inc., a customer relationship management software company, for an undisclosed amount. As part of the transaction, Tour de Force will merge with Compass Sales Solutions, a sales force automation platform for the office technology industry.

* Six new media startups have moved into STATION F's TF1 MediaLab, as part of the booster program. The companies are offering technological solutions to challenges faced by the TF1 Group.

NETHERLANDS, BELGIUM AND LUXEMBOURG

* Television channel Veronica has gained the rights to broadcast matches of the Ultimate Fighting Championship from Jan. 1, 2019, MediaMagazine reports. Ziggo Sports is currently showing UFC.

* Dutch company Alticom Datacenters, owned by Cellnex Telecom SA, will shortly start building its 24th data center in the Netherlands, in Roosendaal, the company said.

* Dutch radio station Q-AM will terminate its activities by year-end for financial reasons, MediaMagazine reports. Q-AM has been broadcasting since August 2016.

NORDIC COUNTRIES

* Creandum AB has become a new investor in artificial intelligence solutions firm Mavenoid AB, Di Digital reports. VMavenoid develops AI-based software solutions for troubleshooting product and service issues.

* Comintelli AB said it plans to secure a listing on Stockholm's Spotlight Stock Market. The company wants to use the listing to raise funds and drive innovation and growth in its core cloud-based services development and licensing businesses.

SOUTHERN EUROPE

* Italy is objecting to the European Union's plan to penalize states that carry out cyber attacks, Reuters reports, citing a document. The plan to implement sanctions has received support from a number of EU states except Italy.

* Altice Europe unit Altice Portugal unveiled a robot that is equipped with artificial intelligence software and is capable of answering general questions, Telecompaper reports. The robot, which has screen or voice language capability, was developed by Altice Labs, together with Follow Inspiration.

EASTERN EUROPE

* Slovenian regulator Akos is planning to amend regulations for TV and radio broadcasting licenses due to changes in market conditions, Telecompaper reports. The regulator has scheduled a public consultation for Oct. 25, which will be open to interested parties.

* Magyar Telekom's 58,000-square-meter headquarters in Budapest is complete, the Budapest Business Journal reports. The Deutsche Telekom unit's new building is anticipated to house about 4,000 employees.

* In addition, Magyar Telekom also announced that Balázs Máthé is stepping down as the company's chief legal and corporate affairs officer and management committee member, effective Dec. 31. The legal and corporate affairs team will directly report to Magyar Telekom CEO Tibor Rékasi upon Máthé's departure.

* Ivan Loginov has stepped down as CEO of Russian operator Crimeatelecom, Telecompaper reports, citing Comnews.ru. Denis Savvatayev, who previously served as CEO, has been appointed acting CEO.

FEATURED NEWS

MarketWeek: Big tech posts big declines amid broader stock market sell-off: Sharp declines in big tech stocks weighed on the broader technology, media and telecommunications sector for the week ended Oct. 12, which marked one of the most volatile trading weeks of the year to date.

FEATURED RESEARCH

Wireless Investor: Sweden mobile projections, 2018-2028: Sweden's spectrum-sharing arrangements is helping to lay the foundation for 5G expansion in 2019.

Anne Freier, Amanda Kelly, Charlotte van Hek and Gerard O'Dwyer contributed to this report.

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