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Liberty Global, Sunrise in joint-venture talks; Vivendi to sell Ubisoft stake

TOP NEWS

* Liberty Global plc is in talks with Sunrise Communications Group AG about a potential partnership to combine and expand their businesses in Switzerland, Bloomberg News reports. The early stage discussions could lead to a joint venture between Liberty Global's UPC unit and Zurich-based Sunrise.

* Vivendi SA has agreed to sell its interest in Ubisoft Entertainment SA to the Guillemot brothers for €2 billion, representing 30,489,300 shares and 27.27% of the share capital. A total of 3,030,303 shares will be sold for cash to Guillemot Brothers SE and an additional 9,090,909 shares will be sold to Ubisoft. All transactions will be executed at €66 per share.

PAN-EUROPEAN

* The European Commission will propose rules today that are designed to make digital companies pay their fair share of tax, Reuters reports. The proposal is expected to hit U.S. tech giants such as Alphabet Inc. unit Google Inc. and Facebook.

* Shopify Inc. enabled shopping on Facebook Inc.'s Instagram Inc. in eight additional markets, consisting of the U.K., Australia, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Spain and Brazil, the company said.

UK AND IRELAND

* The Irish Data Protection Commissioner is looking into Facebook's measures to oversee app developers and third parties that use the social media company's platform, Reuters reports, citing a statement from the commissioner's office. The regulator also wants to ensure that Facebook's supervision of the platform's use is "effective."

* The University of Cambridge wants Facebook to confirm whether one of its professors, Aleksandr Kogan, did not use any university data or facilities when he passed user information on to political data analytics company Cambridge Analytica LLC, Reuters reports, citing a statement.

GERMANY, SWITZERLAND AND AUSTRIA

* Swiss mobile operator Salt Mobile SA has announced its entry into the fixed services market with a range of TV and broadband services. The company unveiled its Fibre Box, which will support up to 10-Gbps broadband, and said it will offer Apple Inc.'s Apple TV 4K as its exclusive set-top box, with premium content acquired through partnerships with Sky plc and Canal Plus SA.

* German broadcaster ProSiebenSat.1 Media SE and Discovery Networks' joint-venture streaming platform 7TV has reached an agreement with the Sport1, Welt and N24 channels to air their content on 7TV.

* Numerous VHF transmitters across Germany could be shut down from April 1 as a result of a dispute between antenna and transmission network operators over price increases for VHF transmissions, Telecompaper reports. The new owners of antennas purchased from Media Broadcast GmbH in 2017 are raising prices for VHF transmissions by 25% to 30%.

* FremantleMedia Ltd. CEO Cecile Frot-Coutaz is leaving her post after being with the company for more than two decades, Variety reports, citing FremantleMedia parent RTL Group.

FRANCE

* Ubisoft and Tencent Holdings Ltd. announced an agreement that will see Tencent operating, publishing and promoting several of Ubisoft's titles on PCs and mobile devices in the Chinese market.

* Siemens AG has extended its contract with Orange Business Services for €240 million. Under the new six-year contract, the Orange SA unit will migrate Siemens' entire global infrastructure to an SD-WAN network that will connect cloud applications as well as internet-of-things devices.

* Altice France SA announced its intention to focus on its customers' experience. CEO and Chairman Alain Weill presented the group's roadmap, which includes new, simplified commercial offers, the launch of the RMC Sport platform and the continued deployment of very high-speed broadband across the country.

NETHERLANDS, BELGIUM AND LUXEMBOURG

* KPN NV completed countrywide coverage of an LTE-M network in the Netherlands, concluding their internet-of-things portfolio. KPN now provides customers support for IoT applications on the LTE-M network, reportedly suitable for efficient high-frequency data exchange between devices.

* KPN removed geoblocking within the EU for its interactive TV app iTV, in anticipation of the new European regulation that will forbid the use of geoblocking, Media Magazine reports. KPN will enable customers to use the iTV app abroad in the EU for a maximum of four months.

* Ziggo NV removed the block for using online TV service Ziggo Go outside the Netherlands over a Dutch VPN connection, which had been installed several days earlier, TotaalTV reports. Unlike KPN, Ziggo still uses geoblocking within the EU, making a VPN connection necessary to access Ziggo Go abroad.

NORDIC COUNTRIES

* Spotify Technology SA, the parent company of streaming music platform Spotify AB, lowered its estimate of the maximum aggregate value of shares to be sold in its upcoming initial public offering to $444.6 million from $1 billion. In an amended SEC filing, the European company, which is pursuing a direct share listing, said it expects registered shareholders to sell up to 55,731,480 ordinary shares.

* Fingerprint Cards AB said it has appointed Pernilla Lindén as its new CFO and a member of the executive management team. She is taking over from Hassan Tabrizi, who is leaving the position as interim CFO on his own initiative.

* Danish commercial public broadcaster TV2 ØST said Jimmy Maymann has been appointed as the new chairman of the company's board. He takes over from Lars Liebst. Maymann was CEO of The Huffington Post between 2012 and 2015.

* Telenor ASA's Swedish pay-TV provider Canal Digital Sverige AB and internet service provider Bredbandsbolaget AB said they have reached a last-minute agreement with media group Bonnier AB on the transmission of TV4 channels.

SOUTHERN EUROPE

* Forthnet SA-owned Greek pay TV operator Nova has acquired rights to air Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. content, such as the James Bond franchise and TV series "The Handmaid's Tale," Advanced Television reports. The MGM content will also be available online via Nova Go and Nova On Demand.

* Vodafone España SAU is rolling out the Vodafone TV Online service in Spain on April 1, Rapid TV News reports. The video-on-demand service will provide the same content that Vodafone Group Plc offers in EU countries.

* Wind Tre SpA and CK Hutchison Holdings Ltd.'s 3 Italia have completed the unification of their networks in Bologna, Italy, Telecompaper reports, citing a statement. The new network says it offers a 250% increase in 4G speeds and enhancement of 3G and 4G coverage.

EASTERN EUROPE

* Telia Co. AB said Fintur Holdings BV, which is jointly owned by Telia and Turkcell, has completed the divestment of its holding in Geocell LLC to Georgian telco Silknet JSC. The transaction is based on an enterprise value of $153 million for the company.

* The Russian Supreme Court dismissed Telegram's appeal to overturn the Federal Security Service's request to access messages from Telegram users, Telecompaper reports, citing Tdaily.ru.

* Orange Polska SA and Deutsche Telekom AG's T-Mobile Polska SA may discontinue sharing frequencies in the 900 MHz and 1800 MHz bands under their joint venture Networks!, Telecompaper reports, citing Rpkom.pl. The Orange unit may also be nearing a deal with Polkomtel on the purchase of a 20 MHz block in the 1800 MHz band.

FEATURED NEWS

Tech Time: Uber halts self-driving tests; Microsoft opens Germany data centers: Ride-hailing company Uber halted autonomous-car testing in all cities after one of its self-driving cars hit and killed a woman in Arizona, while tech giant Microsoft is opening two cloud data centers in Germany.

Telefónica bags motoring pay TV rights; Orange Spain, Fox ink content deal: In this monthly feature, S&P Global Market Intelligence provides a roundup of news related to over-the-top, video-on-demand and other video initiatives in Spain, Italy, Portugal, Greece and Turkey.

FEATURED RESEARCH

Economics of Internet: Profile: Viu (Singapore): Viu provides consumers in Singapore with relevant Asian content and reasonable pricing.

Daniela Latini, Amanda Kelly, Koen Pijnappels and Esben Svendsen contributed to this report. The Daily Dose has an editorial deadline of 7 a.m. London time. Some external links may require a subscription.

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