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Banijay-Endemol Shine's €2B deal; Facebook in UK; KCOM deal update

TOP NEWS

* Banijay Group SAS is close to clinching a deal to acquire Endemol Shine Group for about €2 billion, London's The Daily Telegraph reports, citing sources. Banijay may finalize an agreement with Endemol Shine co-owners Walt Disney Co. and U.S. private equity firm Apollo Global Management Inc.

* Facebook Inc. will put up a dedicated operations center in the U.K. during the next elections to battle misinformation and fake news stories, Facebook vice president of policy solutions, Richard Allan, wrote in London's The Daily Telegraph. Facebook advertisements about social issues in the U.K. will also go through a rigid verification process, similar to election-related ads, starting next week.

* The European Commission approved MEIF 6 Fibre Ltd.'s proposed acquisition of U.K. IT and communications provider KCOM Group PLC for £627 million. MEIF 6 Fibre is backed by Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets (Europe) Ltd.

PAN-EUROPEAN

* The European Data Protection Supervisor raised "serious concerns" over the level of compliance of Microsoft Corp.'s contracts with European Union institutions to the bloc's data protection rules. The data watchdog expressed its worries as part of the preliminary results of its probe into the contracts, which began in April. In response, a Microsoft spokesman told Reuters that the company will reveal contractual changes that will address EDPS' concerns.

* Greek free-to-air channel Skai and Russian free-to-air network MIR picked up broadcasting rights for BBC Studios Ltd.'s "The Weakest Link," TBI Vision reports. Cypriot public broadcaster CyBC renewed its remake of the show for a third season with 150 episodes.

* Switzerland-based quantum cryptography communication company ID Quantique, backed by SK Telecom Co. Ltd., will be working on a European Union-funded three-year project, called Open Quantum Key Distribution, to install test quantum communication infrastructures in several European countries. Other European companies, such as Deutsche Telekom AG, Nokia Corp. and Orange SA, also form part of the €15 million project.

* Swedish sports rights agency Spring Media and Red Bee Media Ltd. jointly unveiled Wnited, a women's soccer-focused over-the-top service. The new platform, which will go live in the first quarter of 2020, will feature multicamera content from top-tier leagues in Europe, Asia and the Americas, as well as national team matches.

UK AND IRELAND

* London-headquartered Passion Distribution Ltd. pre-sold rights to air ITV PLC's documentary "Harry & Meghan: An African Journey" to Australia's Network 10, New Zealand's TVNZ, TV 2 | Danmark A/S, RTL in the Netherlands, Belgium's Medialaan and BBC Lifestyle for Africa and Poland, TBI Vision reports.

* The British Broadcasting Corp. appointed Anne Foster as the company's workforce diversity and inclusion head. Foster will be in charge of implementing strategies focused on making the BBC a "modern and diverse workplace." She will work closely with June Sarpong, who was recently appointed the BBC's director of creative diversity.

* The BBC's broadcast center has officially been moved to Central Square in Cardiff, from its previous Llandaf location. The new facility will house about 1,000 production and support staff.

GERMANY, SWITZERLAND AND AUSTRIA

* Venture capital and private equity firm Insight Partners LP, which targets technology and software companies, will invest $145 million in commercetools GmbH. The German software technology company will use the capital to fund its expansion plans in the U.S., Asia-Pacific and Europe.

* Swiss telecoms group Sunrise Communications Group AG canceled a shareholders meeting scheduled for Oct. 23. The meeting's agenda included voting on the capital increase needed to complete the CHF6.3 billion acquisition of Liberty Global PLC-owned UPC Schweiz.

FRANCE

* The Paris Court of Appeal upheld Regulatory Authority for Electronic Communications and Posts' decision in a dispute between Iliad's Free and Orange over subscribers' access to shared fiber optic networks. France's telecoms regulator wanted Orange to grant Free access rights for at least 40 years, under transparent and predictable conditions.

* According to France's Minister of Culture, Franck Riester, there will be no return of advertising after 8 p.m. on local public TV, even during sports events, reports CB News. Expected in late November, the audiovisual reform law also provides for the possibility of "shared screens" to promote advertisements without interrupting the broadcast of sports events.

* About €140 million of cost savings from France Tres Haut Debit, the country's national superfast broadband strategy, will be reallocated to support the next phase of the fiber-to-the-premises rollout, reports TeleGeography, citing a statement from the French government.

NETHERLANDS, BELGIUM AND LUXEMBOURG

* Satellite operator SES SA secured a deal with media group PT Surya Citra Media Tbk and direct-to-home operator Nex Parabola to broadcast games for the 2019-20 seasons of the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League to audiences in Indonesia.

* The works council of Dutch internet service provider XS4ALL Internet BV appealed against the brand's dissolution and merger with KPN NV, NOS reports. The Works Council reportedly reproached the parent company saying that the merger plan is poorly substantiated and is not in line with the agreements made earlier about the independence of XS4ALL within the parent company.

* Knokke-Heist will be the first Belgian municipality to be fully equipped with fiber optic internet from Proximus, Emerce reports. By 2023, about 30,000 households and businesses reportedly must be connected to the network.

NORDIC COUNTRIES

* TDC A/S CEO Allison Kirkby emerged as a potential candidate for the permanent CEO position at Telia Co. AB, reports Svenska Dagbladet.

* Ericsson is working with NVIDIA Corp. to develop technologies that will allow communication service providers to build virtualized 5G radio access networks, which enable faster and more flexible introduction of new artificial intelligence and internet of things services. Ericsson will combine its expertise in RAN technology with NVIDIA's capabilities in graphics processing unit-powered accelerated computing platforms, AI and supercomputing.

* Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. founder Ren Zhengfei urged Norway to ignore pressure from the U.S. and allow the Chinese equipment maker to supply 5G network technology, writes NRK. Zhengfei said Norway would risk being left behind in 5G developments if the country could not use Huawei technology.

* Sveriges Radio AB reached a two-year data network deal with Tele2 AB to deliver a data network for audio transmission to boost bandwidth at the state broadcaster, Sveriges Radio's, nearly 200 production sites across Sweden.

SOUTHERN EUROPE

* Telecom Italia SpA named Salvatore Rossi its new board chairman. Rossi, who will also be an independent director on the telco's board, has served as senior deputy governor of the Bank of Italy, among other previous roles.

* Telefónica SA and Spanish broadcaster Atresmedia Corporación de Medios de Comunicación SA are looking to launch their content production joint venture in 2020, Telecompaper reports, citing Expansion. The companies reportedly expect securing regulatory approval for the venture by year-end.

* Spanish regional operator Euskaltel SA is not actively considering selling its fixed network, Telecompaper reports, quoting CEO Jose Miguel Garcia's statement to El Correo.

EASTERN EUROPE

* Croatian software company Infobip appointed former VimpelCom BV CEO Boris Nemsic as its chairman, effective this month, Bloomberg News reports. Nemsic's appointment comes at a time when Infobip is preparing for a potential IPO.

* Facebook suspended four separate networks of accounts, pages and groups on its platform and on Instagram, including one that was operated from Russia. The social media giant alleged that the network has "some links" to Russia's Internet Research Agency.

* AVAST Software sro detected an "extremely sophisticated attempt" to attack its network, according to a blog post. The security software provider teamed up with the Czech Republic's Security Information Service, Czech intelligence agency and an external forensics team to probe into the cyberattack.

* Russian internet company Mail.ru Group Ltd. purchased an 11.7% stake in Algoritmika, a developer of software-based educational projects for children, for an undisclosed sum, Telecompaper reports, citing Vc.ru.

* Telia Lithuania plans to commercially launch its over-the-top platform, Telia Play TV, this year, Telecompaper reports, citing Vz.lt. Telia intends to make further investments in Telia Play TV in 2020.

* The Competition Council of Bosnia & Herzegovina opened an antitrust probe into Telekom Srbija ad, the Serbian government and Serbian public broadcaster RTS, Telecompaper reports, citing SEEbiz. The probe was triggered by a complaint from cable operator Telemach. Telekom Srbija is buying local cable operators and plans to launch a local version of the Euronews channel, according to the report.

* The Polish government pledged to connect all residential premises across the country to a fiber network within the next three years, Telecompaper reports, citing Telko.in.

FEATURED NEWS

M&A Replay: Canadian fund to invest in Axel Springer; EC approves Infineon, Cypress deal: The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board committed to investing in a KKR-backed public tender offer for Axel Springer, while the European Commission approved Infineon Technologies' proposed acquisition of U.S. chipmaker Cypress.

FEATURED RESEARCH

Economics of Internet: Profile: DAZN: DAZN seeks to upset the market by focusing on long-term rights agreements and avoiding direct competition with major telcos.

Global Multichannel: Norway fiber revenue share passes 50% for 1st time: Fiber's share of fixed residential broadband revenue in Norway exceeded 50% for the first time in 2018, with a fixed residential revenue CAGR of 16.8% between 2012 and 2018.

RECENT EARNINGS

SAP reiterates 2019 outlook as Q3 profit rises YOY: SAP also announced a partnership with Microsoft for cloud migration offerings.

Anne Freier, Amanda Kelly, Marieke Pijnappels and Gerard O'Dwyer contributed to this report.

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