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Liberty Global may mull M&A, divestments; e-commerce firm buys TVN channel

TMT News & Research: 2020 Recap

Blog

Charter, DIRECTV and Comcast rank as the top 'RSN-friendly' MVPDs

Quibi's $2 billion bet on mobile video fizzles out

Cable nets struggle with cash flow declines due to cord cutting, pandemic


Liberty Global may mull M&A, divestments; e-commerce firm buys TVN channel

TOP NEWS

* International cable operator Liberty Global plc said continued headwinds in the European mobile market could prompt the company to look to M&A as a mobile entry opportunity or a chance to sell in some of its smaller markets. Liberty Global CEO Mike Fries said during a recent earnings call that the company may consider "smart and appropriate M&A activity. ... That should normally include exiting as well as buying in markets where we think we don't have a shot at being a scaled player."

* E-commerce firm Studio Moderna Polska Sp zoo acquired TVN SA's teleshopping channel Mango-Media, Digital TV Europe reports. The Scripps Networks Interactive Inc. unit's sale of the channel is reportedly in line with the necessity for the business to consolidate its portfolio. The Polish competition watchdog has already approved the deal.

PAN-EUROPEAN

* Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd.'s smart TV content offering expanded its services to France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the U.K., according to a news release. TV PLUS allows Samsung Smart TV users to access Ultra HD and high-dynamic-range content.

UK AND IRELAND

* The U.K. Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport is seeking further clarification from telecom and media regulator Ofcom regarding the latter's assessment of 21st Century Fox Inc.'s proposed takeover of Sky plc. The move comes after the department received a "large number of representations" in relation to Ofcom's assessment. The government asked the watchdog to conduct further analysis of 21st Century Fox's adherence to broadcasting standards, an issue raised by those against the deal, The Guardian of London reports.

* Pay TV giant Sky has started exclusive talks to retain broadcast rights for English Football League soccer, in a potential three- to five-year deal worth up to £900 million, The Guardian reports.

* CK Hutchison Holdings Ltd. unit Hutchison 3G UK Holdings Ltd. issued a formal legal threat against Ofcom over the rules of an upcoming mobile spectrum auction, The Daily Telegraph of London reports. The telco threatened a judicial review and accused the regulator of violating the law for failing to tilt the auction further in its favor.

* The merger between Vodafone Group Plc unit Vodafone India and Idea Cellular Ltd. received conditional approval from the Securities and Exchange Board of India, or Sebi, The Economic Times of India reports. Sebi noted that Idea Cellular agreed to comply with the condition that the company will not dispose of shares purchased by its promoters before the merger announcement.

* The U.K. Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport launched a consultation into plans to impose fines of as much as £17 million or 4% of global turnover on service operators who fail to implement effective cybersecurity measures. The consultation is part of plans to implement the Network and Information Systems Directive, beginning May 2018.

* U.S. authorities postponed the arraignment of British security researcher Marcus Hutchins in a hacking case involving banking and credit card information, Reuters reports. Hutchins, who is credited for derailing the Wannacry ransomware attack, will be arraigned Aug. 14.

GERMANY, SWITZERLAND AND AUSTRIA

* Viacom Inc. unit Viacom International Media Networks named Michael Keidel as its new vice president of content, distribution and sales. Keidel will be managing all content, distribution and sales activities of the company's Berlin headquarters.

FRANCE

* Video game developer Ubisoft is opening a new studio in Sweden, to be led by Patrick Bach. The Ubisoft Stockholm teams will collaborate with Massive Entertainment, a Ubisoft studio in Malmö, on the development of AAA games. Ubisoft Stockholm expects to grow to a team of 100 in its first two years of operation.

NETHERLANDS, BELGIUM AND LUXEMBOURG

* A+E Networks UK will shortly be launching a Dutch version of TV channel History, which will be available to all providers and will replace the current pan-European version, TotaalTV reports. The Dutch channel will have a different programming from the European version.

* The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets, in its annual Telecom Monitor, reported a data consumption of 185 billion MB in the Netherlands in 2016, a 63% increase compared to 2015 figures. The ACM also said consumers increasingly take out a combination of services such as broadband access, television services, fixed telephony, and mobile telephony in a single package.

* Publisher Sanoma Corp. will stop the print edition of Naar School with immediate effect, after being unable to turn the magazine into a profit-making product, Villamedia reports.

NORDIC COUNTRIES

* ITV Studios Ltd. unit ITV Studios Finland will produce a remake of scripted series "Threesome" as part of a deal with Finnish video-on-demand service Elisa Viihde, TBI Vision reports. Filming of the series will begin in late August. ITV Plc owns ITV Studios.

* Denmark's largest conservative political party, Dansk Folkeparti, wants to make major changes to the country's public broadcasting company DR, Børsen reports. The party wants to abolish the license fee and instead finance DR through the tax system. It also wants to cut DR's budget by 25%.

* The collapse of Danish mobile operator Tjeep will cost its investors and suppliers at least 10 million Danish kroner, ITwatch reports. Both Tjeep A/S and its operating company Tjeep Mobil ApS are bankrupt, and all employees have lost their jobs.

SOUTHERN EUROPE

* Vodafone Italia is including full YouTube access through its Vodafone TV service, Telecompaper reports. Vodafone TV, which launched in December 2016, offers access to DTT channels.

* Telefónica SA struck an exclusive two-year deal with British Broadcasting Corp. unit BBC Worldwide Ltd., which will allow the broadcast of the "Blue Planet II" documentary on the #0 network on Movistar+ among others, Telecompaper reports. BBC Earth documentaries will also be available on #0.

* Portugal's National Communications Authority has opened a bid for a test system that the regulator plans to acquire for the verification of DTT receivers' compliance, Telecompaper reports.

EASTERN EUROPE

* Prestige Internet, doing business under the Enforta brand, began provisioning internet services over leased lines to Euroset's 78 shops in the Northwestern Federal District of Russia, Telecompaper reports. Some of the retail chains have been given data links to Euroset's office in St. Petersburg.

* Russia's Federal Antimonopoly Service is investigating the roaming fees of MegaFon, VEON unit VimpelCom Russia and T2 Mobile, Reuters reports. The regulator called on the operators, who were said to be charging monopoly prices for roaming charges, to reduce their said fees. T2 Mobile is working under the Tele2 brand and is partly owned by Rostelecom PJSC.

FEATURED NEWS

Data Dispatch: Netflix scoops up comic featherweight as Marvel, DC mature: A recently announced deal to buy comic book publisher Millarworld makes clear Netflix's intent to compete in the booming comic content industry.

Vivendi, Telecom Italia eye pay TV JV; Sky preps Spanish OTT launch: 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

Global Multichannel: Kagan Report: Asia leads UHD TV channel growth in Q2: Second-quarter 2017 UHD report update: By the end of second quarter 2017, the number of available ultra HD channels worldwide reached 115, compared to 95 in first quarter, and we expect the number of channels to hit 307 by 2021.

RECENT EARNINGS

Disney debuts new OTT services, reports more quarterly declines at ESPN: As it reported another quarter weighed down by ESPN, Disney executives announced new sports and entertainment digital streaming platforms expected to launch after the company takes control of BAMTech.

Anne Freier, Amanda Kelly, Charlotte van Hek 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.