* Asexpected, entered into anagreement with MediasetGroup to create an international over-the-top television deliveryplatform. Pursuant to the agreement, 3.5% of Vivendi's share capital will beexchanged for 3.5% of Mediaset's share capital and 100% of the share capital ofthe Mediaset Premium pay TV company. The two companies also will jointlydevelop initiatives for audiovisual content, to a news release. Thetransaction is subject to regulatory approval but is expected to close incoming months. The strategic agreement provides for the appointment ofpositions on each other's boards, LeFigaro reports.Mediaset CEO Pier Silvio Berlusconi is expected to serve on Vivendi'ssupervisory board, while Vivendi will appoint its CEO Arnaud de Puyfontaine asa Mediaset director.
*The Daily Mail (UK)'s parent company,Daily Mail and General Trustplc, is in talks with several private equity firms regarding apotential acquisitionof Yahoo! Inc., The Guardian (London) reports.A DMGT spokesman said the talks are still at a very early stage, and that thereis no certainty of a deal. Potential scenarios include DMGT purchasing Yahoo'snews and media properties, or allowing a PE firm to take a stake in the Daily Mail's digital business once it iscombined with Yahoo's properties.
*Vivendi, Mediaset, and Telefónica plan to create a "Netflix of SouthernEurope" in collaboration with American studios. Accordingto Le Figaro, one of the projectsthat prompted the alliance between Vivendi and Mediaset as well as theirrapprochement with Telefónica is the launch of a VOD service by subscriptionvia OTT. Discussions have been held with several U.S. studios, includingWarner Bros. EntertainmentInc. and Fox. The service could be available as early as Septemberin France, Italy and Spain, according to the report.
UK AND IRELAND
* EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager said her officewill not cease its probe into AppleInc.'s tax dealings in Ireland, despite the company's announcedintention to move some of its $200 billion offshore cash back to the U.S., the FinancialTimes (London) reports.The planned cash move reportedly has no bearing on the EU's tax investigationinto Apple. Vestager declined to specify the amount Apple will pay if the EUrules against the company, as the probe is still , according to the report.
*ITV Plc said in anews releasethat it named new senior programming executives for network and ITVStudios. The British broadcaster named former BBC Drama Controller Polly Hillits new head of drama, Sue Murphy as head of factual entertainment, SiobhanGreene as head of entertainment and Peter Davey as head of comedyentertainment. Angela Jain will succeed Greene as managing director of ITVStudios Entertainment, while Rosemary Newell will become ITV's head of digitalchannels and acquisitions. Newell joins ITV from 'sDiscovery Networks InternationalLLC.
*BBC Worldwide Ltd. namedTom Fussell its new CFO, effective May 3. He replaces Andrew Bott, who joinedFremantleMedia Ltd., TBI Vision reports.Fussell was CFO at Shine Group from 2013 to 2015. Meanwhile, BBC Worldwide'sU.S. division hired Sergei Kuharsky as strategy and business development chief,accordingto a separate TBI Vision report.Kuharsky will move to the BritishBroadcasting Corp.unit from Scripps NetworksInteractive Inc.'s Food Network (US).
*Amazon.com Inc. isexploring options to expand its Dublin office, the Irish Independent (Dublin) reports.The e-commerce giant reportedly hired advisers to secure another city centeroffice block for the next six months. Amazon has about 1,700 employees inIreland.
GERMANY, SWITZERLAND ANDAUSTRIA
*Germany's Bundesliga football TV rights could be sold to just one broadcaster.The country's Federal Cartel Office has not set conditions that prevent thesale of 2017-2018 to 2020-2021 football rights to one buyer, Reuters Germany reports,citing three people familiar with the negotiations. The move is contrary toexpectations of a planned "no-single-buyer rule" that would haveforbidden the sale of rights to Sky Deutschland GmbH alone or another new competitor. Inthe U.K., Sky plc hasto share Premier League football rights with British Telecom.
*Vodafone Group Plc'sVodafone Germany will end EU roaming charges for new mobile phone customers aswell as for those extending their contracts, Rheinische Post reports,citing an interview with CEO Hannes Ametsreiter. The change, which covers phonecalls as well as Internet roaming costs for most tariffs, will take effect bythe end of April.
*RTL is considering an offer for rights to televise Germany's Bundesligafootball matches, Welt am Sonntag reports,citing RTL Groupco-CEO Anke Schäferkordt. Whether or not RTL will bid depends on the package ofrights being offered by Germany's football league, she reportedly said. The TVrights for four seasons, from 2017-2021, are due to be auctioned off by June.RTL is keen to acquire more rights to sports games, but not at any price,Schäferkordt said, adding that while sport adds to the broadcaster's brand, itdoes not drive financial success.
*Alphabet Inc.'sGoogle Inc. coulddouble its workforce in Munich to up to 800 employees after it moves to a newoffice building in the city, Handelsblattreports.Google's largest European research and development center is based in Zürichand employs about 1,600 people.
*There has been a change in Orange's capital due to the allocation of double votingrights within the framework of the Florange law in France, Les Echos reports.The French state has surpassed the set thresholds and now holds 13.44% of thecapital and 21.14% of voting rights of Orange, according to a statement fromfinancial markets authority AMF. As a result of the increase in the number ofvotes, the Caisse des Dépôts has fallen below the threshold of 10% of thetelecom operator's voting rights directly and indirectly through BpifranceParticipations. CDC holds 11.29% of capital and 9.82% of voting rights. Thesechanges occur a week after the announcement of the of merger negotiations betweenBouygues Telecom andOrange.
*French data protection authority CNIL announcedits opposition the installation of backdoors on digital devices. The argumentsstated are: encryption contributes to the resilience of societies and ourdigital information assets; there are already mechanisms available forauthorities to access and analyze data in the context of a judicialinvestigation; defendants and third parties are already under a legalobligation to cooperate with authorities; and that setting up backdoors ormaster keys would weaken the future of the digital ecosystem.
NETHERLANDS, BELGIUM AND LUXEMBOURG
*Belgian provider BASE lowered its European tariffs in accordance with theimposed EU scheme which will take effect April 30, ZDNet reports.Base, a subsidiary of LibertyGlobal plc's TelenetGroup Holding NV, is the third Belgian operator to decrease itstariffs, after Vikings Mobile and Mobistar NV. In the EU, outgoing calls will cost 6 eurocents per minute instead of 22 euro cents, texts will drop to 2.4 euro centsper message from 7 euro cents, and using Internet data will decrease to 6 eurocents per megabyte from 24 euro cents.
*Deutsche Telekom AG'sT-Mobile Netherlands is planning to launch a fierce campaign in the Dutchtelecom market to compete with KPN NV, accordingto Beurs.nl. Deutsche Telekom would have performed less than its competitors inthe Netherlands in 2015, and therefore would be likely to take action. Thetelco would have plans to hone its offer by lowering prices or offering specialdeals.
*Video now accounts for 70% of all traffic on Telenor Norge A/S' broadbandnetwork in Norway, compared to 60% 1.5 years ago, the company said in a statement.Factors driving video usage include heavier traffic for online services such asNetflix Inc. and public broadcaster NRK's programming. Ahigher rate of traffic is also being recorded for TV2 Sumo and YouTube. Netflixnow accounts for 23% of all Telenor's traffic, while YouTube take up 18%.
*The president of Finland's Union of Professional Engineers, Insinööriliiton,criticized NokiaCorp.'s large-scale redundancies, reportsSavon Sanomat. Pertti Porokarireportedly claimed that the layoffs of 1,300 workers in Finland are meant to protectAlcatel-Lucent, jobsin France as the merger between the two companies is consolidated. Theunion also criticized the ease with which Nokia can lay-off workers, and calledfor a tightening of Finland's job security laws.
* Aconsortium comprising TelenorASA, energy group Statkraft and Odda County Council rolled out 4Gmobile coverage in the remote region of Odda, reportsstate broadcaster NRK. The sparsely inhabited region is attracting anincreasing number of nature tourists, and a reliable mobile network service isneeded to provide fast response times by emergency services.
*Elisa Corp. extendedits tender offer to all shareholders in Anvia Oyj until April 22, the Finnish telco said in a statement.Elisa presented a €2,000 per share bid for Anvia in February. The extendedoffer period carries the same terms. Elisa is the biggest shareholder in Anvia,which provides broadband, telephone and television services. Elisa obtained theapproval of Finnish competition authorities to acquire a controlling stake inAnvia in 2015.
*Norway's communications authority Nkom, together with Norway's national mediaauthority, will allocate the remaining available frequency permits for localaudio radio broadcasting blocks, Nkom said in a statement.The allocation covers blocks that were left over from an auction held earlierin 2016. The deadline for the allocation is May 9. Permits and relatedconcessions will be valid from Jan. 1, 2017 to Dec. 31, 2031. Around 17 of the37 blocks will remain free.
*Telefónica SA's boardof directors approvedthe appointment of COO José María Álvarez-Pallete as executive chairman andchairman of the board and of the executive commission. Álvarez-Pallete willreplace CésarAlierta. The company also announced that board members Fernando de Almansa,Carlos Colomer, Santiago Fernández-Valbuena and Alfonso Ferrari voluntarilyresigned. Meanwhile, four new independent directors will join Telefónica'sboard: physicist Ignacio Cirac, Banco Sabadell Vice Chairman Javier Echenique,Iberostar Group CEO and co-Executive Vice President Sabina Fluxà and Sulzer AGChairman Peter Löscher.
*Turner Broadcasting SystemInc.'s Europe, Middle East and Africa division promotedTarek Mounir to vice president and general manager for Turkey, Middle East,North Africa, Greece and Cyprus. Mounir has been instrumental in the creationof Cartoon Network Studios Arabia as well as the company's content rollout,including the distribution of Emirati cartoon "Mansour" in the UAE.Time Warner Inc. ownsTurner.
*Greek pay TV operators slammed the Greek government's planned imposition of aspecial household tax for pay TV subscribers, Rapid TV News reports.The proposal will reportedly hurt local pay TV operators, as U.S.-basedover-the-top platforms like Netflix and Amazon will not be subjected under thesame rules. A decrease in sports and film productions in the country could alsoresult from the proposed taxation, according to the report.
*Russian fixed operator TTK could divest its retail broadband and pay TV assets,Telecompaper reports,citing Vedomosti. The company isreportedly considering talks with Rostelecom PJSC and Mobile TeleSystems PJSC to explore deal options.
*Slovakia's Antik Telecom srosecured a Czech license to broadcast its direct-to-home service, Broadband TVNews reports,citing Parabola.cz. Antik Sat, which operates the platform, is reportedlyregistered as Tango Bohemia. Antik Sat is distributed by Eutelsat16A satellite and uses TelekomAustria Group's technology. América Móvil SAB de CV owns Telekom Austria.
*Romanian state-owned broadcaster Societatea Nationala de Radiocomunicatii SAcould face fines ranging from 5,000 Romanian leu to 100,000 leu if the digitalterrestrial television network does not reach 90% of the population and 80% ofthe territory of Romania by Dec. 31, Telecompaper reports,citing HotNews.ro. The DTT network reportedly reached about 56% of thecountry's population in late 2015.
: Several media stocks felt the broad market drag andshed large amounts of market cap during the trading week ending April 8.
: Take a look at the media and communications editor's topfive picks for the week ended April 8.
: Last night was as close to an Irish wake as TV can get,as viewers bid farewell to "American Idol." But the show's impactwill live on.
: SNL Kagan presents the five most read media andcommunications articles for the week ended April 8.
: Hallmark extends themed programming into 'Summer Nights':Crown Media's CEO believes Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies & Mysteriesare poised for upfront market growth, as the networks continue to deliverratings increases and expand their original productions.
: SNL Kagan counted 29 deal announcements in thecommunications sector during the first quarter of 2016, with an aggregatetransaction or deal value of $1.86 billion.
:In the first quarter of 2016, SNL Kagan counted 486 deal announcements with anaggregate transaction or deal value of $11.67 billion for the media &entertainment and new media industry.
: SNL Kagan announces its media and entertainment and newmedia Capital Offerings League Tables for the first quarter of 2016.
: SNL Kagan announces its communications Capital OfferingsLeague Tables for the first quarter of 2016.
Multichannel Trends:March 2016 cable TV financing snapshot: The cable TV financingsnapshot table lists monthly totals for cable industry public and private debt,equity and stock buybacks from a historical range of years to the present.
Amanda Kelly,Patrick Winters, Charlotte van Hek and Gerard O'Dwyer contributed to thisreport. The Daily Dose has an editorial deadline of 7 a.m. London time. Someexternal links may require a subscription.