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Eurobites: Telia Turns Up TV Offer With Bonnier Acquisition

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Virgin Media loses UKTV channels; EU ups the ante with Qualcomm; Proximus teams up for smart buildings.

  • Sweden's Telia Company is beefing up its TV business with the acquisition of Bonnier Broadcasting -- including its brands TV4, C More and Finnish MTV -- for 9.2 billion Swedish kronor (US$1.03 billion). With this acquisition, the operator will create a new business division, in which both Telia's existing TV business and Bonnier will be included. Casten Almqvist, currently CEO of Bonnier Broadcasting, will become CEO of this new division. Around 1,200 additional employees will join Telia through the acquisition. The operator is on something of an M&A roll: Earlier this week it announced it was to acquire TDC Norway for $2.59 billion. (See Eurobites: Telia Bags TDC Norway for $2.59B.)

    The acquisition news comes as Telia announces its first-half results, with net sales up 5.2% to SEK20.81 billion ($2.34 billion) and earnings up 6.9% to SEK6.44 billion ($725 million). However, service revenues in local currencies, excluding exceptional items, fell 2.3%. The outlook for 2018 remains unchanged.

  • A row over retransmission fees between the UK's Virgin Media Inc. (Nasdaq: VMED) and the BBC will result in around 4 million Virgin TV subscribers losing access to channels run by UKTV, the popular "Dave" channel among them, the Daily Telegraph reports. The disgruntled folk at Virgin have branded the BBC a "dinosaur."

  • The feisty mood of the European Commission regulators continues with them charging US chipmaker Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM) with a new violation in the latest twist to a long-running row relating to chipsets, Reuters reports. A "supplementary statement of objections" has been raised by the Commission, focusing on the "price-cost" test that was used to assess whether Qualcomm's chipsets were being sold below cost price to freeze out its rivals.

  • Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT) is buffing up its open source credentials by joining the Linux Foundation as a Platinum member. Deutsche Telekom is also a participant in the ONAP project and plans to contribute to the next platform release, Casablanca. Of all the open source groups in all the world… (See Deutsche Telekom Goes Platinum at Linux Foundation.)

  • Belgium's Proximus has joined forces with Besix, a construction company, to develop new ideas in the "smart buildings" sphere. Proximus will provide its IoT expertise and Besix will supply the bricks, mortar and clever people in hard hats.

  • Stefano De Angelis has resigned as CEO of Telecom Italia (TIM) 's Brazilian unit, TIM Participações, following the completion of his two-year contract. He will be succeeded by Sami Foguel.

  • UK broadband provider TalkTalk is using Assia Inc. 's DSL Expresse Dynamic Line Management system to boost the speed of its ADSL lines and improve the stability of its network.

  • Finnish airline Finnair is launching a new high-speed Internet service on its narrow-body Airbus fleet on European flights, using technology from ViaSat Inc. (Nasdaq: VSAT). Limitations to the service will apply above certain sea areas, such as the Bay of Biscay and the North Sea, where satellite coverage is unavailable.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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