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Eurobites: Virgin Media Faces Multi-Million Retrans Bill From ITV

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Turkcell in joint research deal with ZTE; Google probed in Turkey; UK government to examine Fox's Sky bid.

  • UK cable operator Virgin Media Inc. (Nasdaq: VMED) may have to pay broadcaster ITV tens of millions of pounds for the right to rebroadcast its flagship channel, ITV1, following Virgin's victory in the European Court of Justice against TVCatchup.com, an online service that was judged to have been streaming ITV1 content without permission. According to a Daily Telegraph report, the court decision is likely to lead to ITV issuing Virgin Media with a large bill over the summer. Currently, Virgin enjoys a copyright exemption under UK law, but that exemption is due to be repealed by the Digital Economy Bill that is making its way through the UK's legislative process.

  • Turkey's Turkcell Iletisim Hizmetleri A.S. (NYSE: TKC) has signed a cooperation agreement with ZTE Corp. (Shenzhen: 000063; Hong Kong: 0763), which will see the pair pool their efforts on GPON and 5G, among other technologies. Turkcell and ZTE have already been working together on the T-series range of mobile phones for several years. (See Turkcell, ZTE Agree Strategic Cooperation MOU.)

  • Turkey is also the setting for the latest probe into Google (Nasdaq: GOOG)'s commercial activities, Reuters reports. In a familiar-sounding story, the country's Competition Board is examining whether Google has violated competition law in the way it had drawn up contracts with equipment producers and in other commercial areas.

  • In other competition matters, the British government has warned that it may well decide to investigate the planned takeover of UK pay-TV giant Sky by Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox , Reuters reports. Murdoch already owns 39% of Sky and has offered £11.7 billion ($14.3 billion) to buy the remainder. In 2011 a phone hacking scandal forced the Australian tycoon to abandon a previous takeover bid. (See 21st Century Fox Confirms $14.6B Bid for Sky.)

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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