* British movie theater operator Cineworld Group PLC agreed to acquire its Canadian peer Cineplex Inc. for C$34 in cash per share, or a total enterprise value of C$2.8 billion. The transaction is expected to be completed in the first half of 2020, subject to shareholder approval.
* Altice Europe's Portuguese unit MEO agreed to sell a minority equity stake of 49.99% in Altice Portugal FTTH to Morgan Stanley Infrastructure Partners, for an enterprise value of €4.63 billion. The equity partnership with the Morgan Stanley-backed fund will make way for the creation of a nationwide fiber wholesaler in Portugal.
* Canal Plus SA will exclusively distribute Walt Disney Co.'s Disney+ in France, allowing the premium TV channel to distribute Disney content as an add-on bundle package, Les Echos reports. The streaming service will be launched in France on March 31, 2020. The deal's terms were not disclosed.
* The U.K. Competition and Markets Authority is planning to launch a probe into Alphabet Inc. unit Google LLC over antitrust concerns regarding its "black box" advertising technology, London's The Daily Telegraph reports. The watchdog's plan is reportedly part of a global crackdown on tech companies.
* NVIDIA Corp. did not offer regulatory concessions in the European Union for its proposed $6.8 billion acquisition of Mellanox Technologies Ltd., Reuters reports, citing the European Commission website. EU antitrust regulators are expected to rule on the deal Dec. 19.
UK AND IRELAND
* British Telecom CEO Philip Jansen urged the newly elected U.K. government, led by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, to speed up efforts to roll out full-fiber broadband services across the country, Digital TV Europe reports.
* Merman promoted Rebecca Parkinson to managing director for the production company's London-based TV division. Parkinson, currently head of production, will be replaced in the role by Rebecca Kerley. Merman also named Jackie Sidey finance director and a board member.
GERMANY, SWITZERLAND AND AUSTRIA
* German broadcaster Bayerischer Rundfunk named Sylvie Stephan head of programming culture, effective February 2020. She succeeds Anke Mai who is joining broadcaster Südwestrundfunk.
* Hessischer Rundfunk plans to spend €594 million in 2020, offset by income of €512 million, resulting in a shortfall of about €82 million. However, the company's broadcasting council said liquidity was guaranteed until the 2021-24 period.
* Backed by financial investor KKR & Co. Inc., Axel Springer SE plans to focus on its digital business in 2020, Reuters reports. The company wants to invest more in job portal Stepstone, and its real estate platforms.
* German newspaper publisher Bintz acquired industry peer Hanauer Anzeiger, DNV reports, citing an entry in the Bundeskartellamt's registry. Hanauer Anzeiger has a paid circulation of 15,000.
* The African unit of IT company Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co. named Jean-Paul Clemente managing director for Africa and French overseas territories, Telecompaper reports.
NETHERLANDS, BELGIUM AND LUXEMBOURG
* The Netherlands will receive 5G in 2020, but it is still unclear how the telecom companies will earn money from the next-generation mobile service, Het Financieele Dagblad reports.
* VodafoneZiggo signed a smart-city cooperation agreement with the Dutch municipality of Hilversum. Together with seven other cooperation partners, the Dutch operator will support the municipality over the next five years and will help realize practical smart city applications.
* Dutch operator KPN NV will remove a number of films and series offered to customers subscribed to the Plus package until year-end, TotaalTV reports. The move reportedly is related to the end of rights agreements.
* Towers operator Cellnex Telecom SA will build a data center in its mast in Loon op Zand on behalf of hosting company Hosting2Go, MediaMagazine reports.
* Telenor ASA selected Ericsson to build its 5G radio access network in Norway. The Norwegian operator weighed the technical quality of equipment suppliers, the ability to innovate and modernize the network, and commercial terms and conditions to arrive at its decision.
* The EFTA Surveillance Authority dismissed a complaint about a commercial public broadcaster deal which TV2 (NO) won in Norway in 2018. Media company Discovery Inc. protested the compensation given to TV2, saying it was a breach of state aid rules applied to the European Economic Area.
* The owners of Danish TV and internet provider Waoo A/S called on the Danish Competition and Consumer Authority to remove an ownership restriction on major shareholder Fibia P/S, the agency said. Giving Fibia exclusive control over Waoo is considered a merger, and must be approved by relevant authorities, according to the agency.
* Norwegian software and IT company Visma AS appointed Merete Hverven as its new CEO. She will take over from Øystein Moan, who is stepping down in 2020.
* Visma also said it is acquiring Norwegian software company PowerOffice AS. The company, which provides cloud-based accounting systems, will continue to operate under its own brand.
* Euskaltel SA and Orange SA struck a fiber-optic and mobile network agreement in Spain, with mobile service terms valid until June 2024 and no end-date for fixed services. It renews and improves previous agreements, allowing access to more advanced mobile and fiber-to-the-home networks.
* Greek operator Cosmote SA rolled out an over-the-top service that allows simultaneous viewing on up to two devices, Telecompaper reports. The service is accessible on TVs and mobile phones.
* Telefónica SA tapped telecom infrastructure company Grupo Ezentis SA to upgrade its Spanish network under a three-year contract, Telecompaper reports.
* The Serbian Commission for Protection of Competition greenlit Mtel's proposed acquisition of Bosnian regional telecom operator Financ, Broadband TV News reports, citing Nezavisne. Telekom Srbija ad owns a 65% stake in Mtel.
* Mobile TeleSystems PJSC trialed a two-way holographic video call between its 5G pilot zones in Moscow and St. Petersburg, Advanced Television reports. The Russian operator teamed up with Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. for the demo.
* Polish public broadcaster Telewizja Polska SA created a global co-production division, which will focus on remaking programs and seeking partners for domestic productions, TBI Vision reports.
Data Dispatch: Jumanji sequel to fight pre-holiday competition anchored by Disney: Sony Corp.'s latest Jumanji sequel swings into theaters over the Dec. 13 weekend, setting up a holiday box office battle among big franchise films, including Disney's "Frozen II" and soon-to-release "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker."
Economics of Networks: Premium mirrors multichannel video loss but shines in OTT during Q3: Premium networks recorded total declines of 2.4 million in multichannel video categories, but gains in over-the-top of 2 million helped partially offset those losses.
Technology: Bump in global smartphone shipments in Q3'19 breaks 7 quarters of declines: Global shipments in third quarter improved slightly, breaking seven straight quarters of year-on-year declines, signaling a possible return to growth.
Anne Freier, Amanda Kelly, Marieke Pijnappels and Esben Svendsen contributed to this report.
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