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Eurobites: Com Hem Sparks Gold Rush

Paul Rainford

In today's EMEA regional roundup: ISPs sue UK spooks; KPN rolls out WiFi with Fon; more Uber upset.

  • There's no shortage of demand for a stake in Swedish cable operator Com Hem AB . The operator raised 5.67 billion Swedish Krona (US$828 million) in its IPO on June 17 when it listed with a share price of SEK 58, and is now set to bank even more cash through the exercise in full of its over-allotment option. Having issued 97.75 million shares for the IPO, it has now sold a further 9.78 million shares, generating gross proceeds of SEK567 million ($82.8 million). The additional allocation means that Com Hem's largest investor, private equity firm BC Partners, will see its stake reduced from 50% to 47.7%. Com Hem's share price is trading up slightly at SEK 62.95.

  • The UK's intelligence center, GCHQ, has become the subject of a legal complaint filed by an unlikely coalition of ISPs and other assorted bodies, including the German Chaos Computer Club. (Whatever it is, we gotta join.) PC World reports that the complaint -- which is largely based on Snowden-related revelations published in Der Spiegel magazine -- was lodged on Wednesday with the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT).

  • KPN Telecom NV (NYSE: KPN) has started rolling out a WiFi network throughout the Netherlands in partnership with Fon Wireless Ltd. , giving KPN customers free Internet access at thousands of hotspots within the country (as well as at millions of hotspots abroad). It's a busy time for Fon -- earlier this week it announced a deal with Romania's Romtelecom S.A. , and back in May it was signed up as partner by Telstra in Australia. (See Fon, KPN Roll Out WiFi Service, Fon Teams With Romtelecom in Romania, and Telstra Signs Up as Fon Partner .)

  • T-Systems International GmbH , Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT)'s enterprise services arm, has opened what it says is Germany's largest data center (covering 5,400 square meters), in Biere, near Magdeburg. DT has fitted out an existing T-Systems data center in Magdeburg almost identically, and the two data centers will work as twins, storing data in parallel.

  • Eight bids have been received for the state sale of Telekom Slovenije , reports Telecompaper. Russia's Mobile TeleSystems OJSC (MTS) (NYSE: MBT), Turkcell Iletisim Hizmetleri A.S. (NYSE: TKC), and Deutsche Telekom form the operators' contingent, while financial funds Apollo Global Management, Cinven Ltd. , CVC Capital Partners , PPF Group, Apax Partners , Bain Capital , and Providence Equity Partners make up the remainder. However, there is a chance the privatization may not happen at all: Reuters reports that all new privatizations in Slovenia have been put on hold until a new government is formed after a snap election on July 13.

  • More grist to the 5G mill: Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. has been elected to join the board of the 5G Infrastructure Association in Europe. The Association represents the 5G Public and Private Partnership (5G-PPP), a €1.4 billion ($1.9 billion) joint initiative between the European technology industry and the European Commission which aims to accelerate the arrival of next-generation networks. (See Huawei Joins 5G Infrastructure Association Board and Prepare for a 5G Onslaught.)

  • Polish cable company Vectra has made a 610 million Polish zloty ($200 million) bid for a 33% stake in telecom operator Netia Holdings SA , reports Bloomberg. Vectra says this is purely a financial investment.

  • Swisscom AG (NYSE: SCM) has been bigging up its credentials as a player in the Swiss cloud market, citing a study carried out by the Experton Group. The operator says it received particularly high scores for its cloud-based infrastructure services, and its services for SMEs. See this press release for more details.

  • You don't want to upset a London cabbie: The Licensed Taxi Drivers Association has filed criminal proceedings in the UK capital against six drivers using the Uber app, reports Bloomberg. It's the latest move from "traditional" taxi drivers who feel that the app is unfair and a threat to their livelihood -- last month the London cabbies combined with their colleagues overseas in a protest that snarled up the streets of some of Europe's major cities.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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