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PE firm to buy Spain's Imagina; MTG completes sale of pan-Baltic units

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PE firm to buy Spain's Imagina; MTG completes sale of pan-Baltic units

TOP NEWS

* Chinese private equity company Orient Hontai Capital struck a deal to buy a majority stake in Imagina Media Audiovisual SL for $1 billion, Jaume Roures, founder and chairman of the Spanish sports media rights group, told Reuters in an interview. Imagina, known for one of its subsidiaries Mediapro, owns distribution rights to the La Liga soccer championship.

* Modern Times Group AB said that it finalized the sale of its pan-Baltic broadcasting units to Providence Equity Partners. The vendor will earn a net capital gain worth 580 million Swedish kronor from the deal. The sale includes free TV, pay TV, digital and radio business units.

PAN-EUROPEAN

* The European Commission said its deal with the U.S. on transatlantic data flows has adequately secured transfers of Europeans' personal data from the EU to the U.S., more than a year since the pact was adopted in July 2016. In its first annual review of the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield agreement, the commission expressed confidence that U.S. authorities have put in place the necessary safeguards on personal data access, as well as a new redress mechanism for privacy issues raised by European citizens.

* Discovery Communications Inc.'s pan-European sports network Eurosport joined forces with Snap Inc. to offer original curated mobile video content of Winter Olympic Games on Snap's Discover platform in Europe, according to a news release. The content will include "Our Stories" that are curated stories consisting of Snaps submitted by Snapchat users and "Publisher Stories," which are magazine-like stories produced by media publishers.

UK AND IRELAND

* Independent studio Critical Content is buying a minority stake in London production company Renowned Films Ltd. as part of a strategic partnership. Critical Content will buy the stake owned by Channel 4 (UK)'s Growth Fund, plus additional shares in Renowned.

* The U.K.'s tax collection agency must improve at tackling value-added tax fraud online, a parliamentary committee that scrutinizes public finances said Oct. 18. Online sellers based outside the EU do not charge VAT when they should, allowing them to undercut law-abiding U.K. businesses by up to 20%, forcing some to lay off workers or to go out of business, the report says. The report was particularly critical of Amazon.com Inc. and eBay Inc.

GERMANY, SWITZERLAND AND AUSTRIA

* Germany-based global news agency Ruptly GmbH rolled out Ruptly Live, an online video streaming platform offering access to videos of live events that can be streamed on social networking sites. The platform provides videos of breaking news from Ruptly's news teams and viral videos, as well as 360-degree video content and drone footage that are available in 4K resolution, according to a news release.

* Telefónica Deutschland GmbH, Deutsche Telekom AG and Vodafone D2 partnered with Berliner Verkehrsbetrieben to expand Berlin's mobile network over the coming months. The project will affect subway networks in the city.

FRANCE

* In partnership with Aviwest SAS, a global provider of video transmission systems for live on-the-go applications, Agence France-Presse will begin automatic live transmission of photos during sporting events, starting with the 2018 Tour de France. The Aviwest system uses up to eight 3G/4G modems simultaneously to allow automated transmission of photos.

* French data privacy watchdog CNIL said it is preparing tools to help professionals navigating through a Data Protection Impact Assessment, where processing is likely to result in a risk to the rights and freedoms of the persons concerned. The regulator added that a new DPIA guide and free software will soon be available, and that it plans to publish a framework and case study for conducting DPIAs on connected objects by the end of the year.

NETHERLANDS, BELGIUM AND LUXEMBOURG

* Ziggo NV plans to release a patch for network vulnerabilities of the Compal Connect Box in April 2018, Tweakers reports. The Connect Box is currently unprotected against a potential DoS attack, which makes the device temporarily unusable to the Liberty Global plc unit's customers.

* Chip designer LioniX Photonix Technologies BV, based in the Dutch city of Enschede, plans to build a photonics chip assembly plant under the company name of PhiX, Tubantia reports. The entire plan reportedly encompasses a €100 million to €200 million investment, will create 3000 jobs, and is scheduled to be finished in 2025. According to LioniX's director, Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. will be among the facility's first customers.

* A group of Dutch organizations is requesting Prime Minister Mark Rutte to await the advisory referendum on the new "tap law," which will allow intelligence agencies to intercept nearly any digital communication, before making any regulatory changes. The group, consisting of Bits of Freedom, the Netherlands Association of Journalists, Privacy First and eight other parties, published the request in an open letter to the prime minister.

NORDIC COUNTRIES

* Facebook Inc. acquired U.S. rights to Norwegian web series "Skam" for its Watch platform, Di Digital reports. An English-language remake, "Shame," is being produced by XIX Entertainment in a deal struck with Norway's state broadcaster NRK.

* Nokia Corp. and Amazon Web Services Inc. formed a cloud and digital services innovation collaboration, Nokia said. The companies will develop new 5G and Edge Cloud strategies, while accelerating migration of service provider applications to the cloud.

* Telenor ASA is laying off 79 personnel at its TV/fixed-line network and mobile phone units in Gjøvik and Fornebu, e24.no reports. The cutbacks are part of Telenor's ongoing drive to streamline core business units and digitize operations and services in Norway.

SOUTHERN EUROPE

* Sky plc will bring three original series to its over-the-top service in Spain in 2018, Rapid TV News reports. "Save Me" will be available on the pay TV platform in January 2018, coinciding with the series' worldwide release, while "Discovery of Witches" and "Melrose" will follow suit later in the year.

* Viacom International Media Networks Italia Srl will launch the free-to air Spike Channel in Italy on Oct. 22, Advanced Television reports. Upon its launch, Spike will become Viacom Inc.'s sixth channel in Italy.

* Vivendi SA opted to refrain from appealing against the Italian government's resolve to activate its "golden power" on Telecom Italia SpA, Telecompaper reports, citing Il Sole 24 Ore. However, the French company is reportedly cautious about losing its investment in Telecom Italia following the government's move.

EASTERN EUROPE

* Canada's QYou Media Inc. will launch its localized 24/7 linear channel in Poland within the year, Broadband TV News reports, citing Markets Business Insider. QYou also teamed up with Mediakraft Networks GmbH unit Mediakraft TV to roll out QYou Polska on Play's Play Now platform.

* Over-the-top platform Megogo.net is eyeing to launch its own branded set-top box that will operate on the Android platform and will be called Megogo Box, Broadband TV News reports. The company has begun producing its own content as well, the report said, citing ComNews.

* Orange Slovakia launched Voice over Wi-Fi on Wi-Fi networks in the country, following internal tests conducted by the Orange SA unit in September, Telecompaper reports. The service will be available for subscribers with VoWiFi-capable phones purchased from the operator.

FEATURED NEWS

Original content key to Netflix growth in Europe: Local and foreign-language originals are becoming increasingly important for Netflix as the company expands across Europe. Netflix's strategy is a strong bet that Europe's free-to-air stronghold is ready to pay for high-end contracts.

FEATURED RESEARCH

Economics of Networks: VSP, OTT competitors weigh heavily on cable network industry economics: The cable network industry remains under pressure from new competitors selling skinny bundles.

Anne Freier, Amanda Kelly, Koen Pijnappels 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.