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Eurobites: UK Media Plurality Concerns Block Fox-Sky Deal

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Com Hem profits down; Telco Systems gets cybersecurity gig; Openet adds to analytics team.

  • The UK competition regulator has ruled that 21st Century Fox 's proposed takeover of Sky is not in the public interest as it would give Rupert Murdoch and his family too much control over news delivery in the UK. However, the Competition & Markets Authority did specify in its report that it was media plurality concerns and not "a lack of a genuine commitment to meeting broadcasting standards in the UK" that stood in the way of the takeover. The regulator has now set out a series of options through which its concerns may be addressed. The whole issue is, of course, complicated by the fact that Disney has agreed to buy most of Fox's business, and could end up owning Sky. (See 21st Century Fox Confirms $14.6B Bid for Sky, Eurobites: EU Gives Blessing to Fox-Sky Deal and Disney Buys Fox for $52.4B.)

  • Fourth-quarter operating profit at Swedish cable operator Com Hem AB declined 10.9% year-on-year, to 203 million Swedish kronor (US$25.2 million), though revenue inched up 1.4% to SEK1.8 billion ($224 million). In its main Com Hem business, broadband and digital TV RGUs were up 14,000 and 4,000 respectively, though its telephony numbers were down by 3,000. The B2B segment was a blackspot for the operator, with revenue down 12.3% on the previous year. This could be Com Hem's final set of results as a standalone entity, should its acquisition by Tele2 AB (Nasdaq: TLTO) go ahead as planned this year. (See Sweden's Tele2 to Swallow Com Hem in $3.3B Deal.)

  • Israeli SDN/NFV vendor Telco Systems (BATM) has landed a $4 million follow-on cybersecurity contract with an unnamed national defense agency customer.

  • Ireland's Openet Telecom Ltd. has strengthened its data and analytics team with the appointment of Derek Hosty, who joins from Nordic operator Telenor. Hosty has, however, worked for Openet before, holding several positions in the strategy, product and sales teams.

  • It's only a matter of time before a cyber attack wreaks absolute havoc on Britain's critical infrastructure. So says Ciaran Martin, the head of the UK's National Cyber Security Centre, in a Guardian interview. According to Martin, the UK has been relatively fortunate to date, as it has managed to avoid a "category one" attack, which could, for example, wipe out energy supplies or the financial sector. Last year the WannaCry ransomware attack made its presence felt at several UK hospitals, but this was classed as a category two attack as there was deemed to be no threat to life. (See Global Ransomware Attack Strikes 70K Systems (& Counting).)

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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