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EU may fine Google over AdSense; Turkcell CEO steps down

TOP NEWS

* The European Union is looking to impose a fine against Google LLC for blocking potential competition in the search advertising space, London's Financial Times reports. The proposed ruling is in relation to concerns that Google's AdSense hampered how third-party websites exhibit search ads from rivals. The European Commission could penalize Google by up to 10% of the global turnover of its parent company, Alphabet Inc., which would translate to about $13 billion.

* Muhterem Kaan Terzioğlu stepped down as Turkcell İletişim Hizmetleri AŞ' CEO, effective March 15. Turkcell's Executive Vice President of Sales Murat Erkan will become the company's acting CEO, while Kadri Özdal will become acting executive vice president of sales.

PAN-EUROPEAN

* The European Publishers Council expressed support for Spotify Technology SA's complaint against Apple Inc. over "unfair" practices. Christian Van Thillo, chairman of the council and also CEO of Belgian company De Persgroep NV, said news publishers offering apps through Apple experience similar barriers. Apple earlier accused Spotify of wrapping its "financial motivations in misleading rhetoric" about the iPhone maker.

* EU Justice Commissioner Vera Jourová has urged political parties across EU member states to help ensure transparency of political advertising online, in the lead-up to the European Parliament elections. The parties were also asked to be prepared for cyberattacks and comply with prevailing EU data protection rules during the election campaign period.

UK AND IRELAND

* A U.S. judge ordered app maker Six4Three to give Facebook Inc.'s lawyers all secret internal emails about the social media giant that it leaked to British lawmakers and other officials, London's The Sunday Telegraph reports. California Judge V. Raymond Swope charged Six4Three of plotting to "commit a crime or fraud" and conspiring with their lawyers on the leak.

* The U.K. National Audit Office published a report criticizing the progress of the National Cyber Security Programme, which runs until 2021. The agency noted how the Cabinet Office has created the program, raising questions about whether the government would be able to address cyberattacks after the program's end year.

* Vodafone Group PLC unit Vodafone Ireland Ltd. is expanding its 5G trial coverage in Dublin's Docklands, following an earlier 5G rollout in the city, Dublin's Irish Independent reports.

GERMANY, SWITZERLAND AND AUSTRIA

* ZDF Enterprises, the commercial unit of broadcaster ZDF (DE), has struck a drama content deal with Hong Kong operator PCCW Ltd. The agreement will see four ZDF Enterprises-distributed programs airing on PCCW's ViuTVsix channel.

* Germany's Federal Network Agency is pushing through with its planned 5G auction on March 19, Reuters reports. The regulator made the statement after a German court rejected motions from Deutsche Telekom AG, Vodafone GmbH and Telefónica Deutschland Holding AG against the auction's rules, according to a separate Reuters report.

* Austria is pushing through with plans to impose a tax on U.S. tech giants after EU ministers failed to agree on a region-wide levy, Reuters reports, quoting Austrian Finance Minister Hartwig Löeger.

* German IT company Bechtle AG announced a revenue increase of 21.1% to €4.32 billion from year-ago figures. The company's earnings before taxes rose 18.7% to €193.2 million.

* Constantin Medien AG revealed a profit loss of 14.5% to €119.1 million in 2018, compared to 2017, DWDL reports. The German media company cited Plazamedia and Sport1 Media GmbH's TV ad business as reasons for the loss.

FRANCE

* Bouygues Telecom SA continues its takeover of enterprise operator Keyyo SA, having acquired 694,754 shares or a 35.45% stake in the latter at €34 per share as of March 14. Upon deal completion, the French telco expects to hold 1,674,753 Keyyo shares, representing 85.45% of the capital and 82.59% of the voting rights.

* French radio station Europe 1 SAS will auction 3,500 records from its 70,000-album collection on March 31, Les Echos reports.

NETHERLANDS, BELGIUM AND LUXEMBOURG

* Accenture PLC, through subsidiary Accenture Interactive, acquired Netherlands-based digital marketing agency Storm Digital for an undisclosed amount. The acquisition is expected to expand Accenture Interactive's footprint in the Netherlands.

* Dutch public broadcaster NPO and all associated public broadcasters requested Minister of Media Arie Slob not to free NPO channels from advertising, Algemeen Dagblad reports. The request is based on the fear that the government will not support the removal of advertising financially, as well as a new market study concluding that the Dutch public is not bothered by advertising on public TV channels.

* The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets will investigate competition in the fiber network market, Het Financieele Dagblad reports. The investigation was reportedly triggered by complaints from T-Mobile Netherlands BV and cable association NLconnect, which accused KPN NV of behavior that is damaging to the development of fiber networks in rural areas.

* Dutch company XS Provider acquired service providers Fiber and Stipte BV, both currently owned by Luxembourg-based M7 Group SA, TotaalTV reports. The transition of ownership is reportedly planned for April 1 but is said not to cause any changes for customers.

* The Dutch government and local administrations published a joint plan for the development of data centers in the country. The plan should direct where new data centers are built and how the data centers should support sustainable growth of the Dutch economy.

NORDIC COUNTRIES

* Telia Co. AB said it had notified the European Commission of its proposed acquisition of Bonnier AB unit Bonnier Broadcasting, which it expects to complete in the second half. The commission will analyze the merger's consequences on competition, and the analysis could lead to further investigation.

* Media group Egmont Holding reported revenues of €1.6 billion in 2018, an increase of €100 million from 2017. The growth was driven by e-commerce, gaming, marketing services and TV streaming, as well as popular content from film production company Nordisk Film and TV 2 AS in Norway.

* Danish telecom operator Teracom Denmark A/S and Swiss internet-of-things infrastructure company Loriot AG have completed a nationwide IoT LoRaWAN network in Denmark, Loriot said. The network enables IoT applications in several sectors, including smart metering, smart farming, smart building and smart city application.

* The Norwegian Consumer Council said there is a need for minimum requirements for cybersecurity in internet-connected products. Among other things, the watchdog called for increased enforcement on connected products, for cybersecurity to become part of public procurement routines, and increased guidance of industry actors.

SOUTHERN EUROPE

* Wind Tre SpA is considering a reorganization plan that would include forming a new entity for its towers business, Telecompaper reports, citing Radiocor. The Italian company is also eyeing to sell its data centers and to reassign its staff to Milan.

* Telefónica SA is set to conclude the sale of its headquarters in Barcelona for €110 million, Telecompaper reports, citing Expansión.

* Vivendi SA said it "denounces" the vote of Elliott Advisors (UK) Ltd.-appointed members on Telecom Italia SpA's board to reject a report, which cites "serious irregularities related to the company's governance and its board." The French company, which owns a stake in TIM, is calling on the statutory auditors and Consob to look into the findings in the said report.

* Vodafone España SAU has extended its distribution agreement with SPI International Inc./Filmbox for the Spanish operator's continued provision of Funbox UHD to its subscribers, Digital TV Europe reports.

* Greek operator OTE, doing business as Cosmote SA, introduced an annual voluntary exit program intended to cut its number of employees, Telecompaper reports, citing Ekathimerini. Employees who intend to take the offer could notify the company until end-March.

EASTERN EUROPE

* Dariusz Dzialkowski and Tomasz Gillner-Gorywoda are stepping down as members of Cyfrowy Polsat SA's management board, effective March 31, Telecompaper reports. Following the exits, the Polish company's supervisory board approved a resolution to appoint Polkomtel Sp zoo's Jacek Felczykowski as a member of its management board, effective April 1.

* Russia's Federal Antimonopoly Service approved Rostelecom PJSC's plan to acquire hosting service company DataLine, Telecompaper reports, citing Tdaily.ru.

* Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. eyes to earn about $15 million in revenues in its Russian cloud service unit, Telecompaper reports, citing Cnews.ru. The Chinese company also plans to double its server racks in its data centers in the country by the end of 2019.

FEATURED NEWS

Data Dispatch: 'Captain Marvel' continues to soar over box office competition: Three debut films will open in the shadow of "Captain Marvel" over the March 15 weekend as the Disney superhero flick charges past $500 million in total box office receipts.

FEATURED RESEARCH

Global Multichannel: TV Everywhere in Western Europe morphing into virtual multichannel TV: As TV Everywhere services become comprehensive compared to the standard pay TV offer, the next phase of evolution looks to cover access for non-TV customers.

Anne Freier, Amanda Kelly, Koen Pijnappels and Esben Svendsen contributed to this report.

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