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Also in today's EMEA roundup: Euro operators unhappy with Herman; Microsoft gets busy in Africa; BT nukes nuisance calls

Euronews: Virgin CEO to Exit After Takeover

Paul Rainford
2/6/2013
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Liberty Global Inc., Virgin Media Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. do their thang in today's jog through the EMEA headlines.

  • Tuesday night saw confirmation of the deal between Liberty Global and Virgin Media, with the U.S.-based cable giant agreeing to take over the U.K. service provider for US$23.3 billion in cash and stock. The announcement was the cue for incumbent Virgin CEO Neil Berkett to announce he was leaving, saying in a conference call: "I’m not a very good No. 2." (See Liberty Makes $23.3B Play for Virgin Media.)
  • The European Telecommunications Network Operators' Association (ETNO) has criticized proposed cuts to European Union funding for telecom infrastructure, reports Reuters. European Council President Herman Van Rompuy has recommended a 25 percent cut in the €9.2 billion ($12.4 billion) budget originally set aside for the expansion of broadband networks. (See Europe's Telco Services Suffer Shrinkage.)
  • Microsoft is getting busy with its 4Afrika Initiative on a couple of fronts: First, it has set in motion a program to bring more smartphones to young African entrepreneurs, the first strand of which sees a partnership with Huawei to launch the Huawei 4Afrika Windows Phone handset in selected African countries; and, second, it is collaborating with the Kenyan government on a pilot project to deliver low-cost wireless broadband access to previously unserved locations near Nanyuki and Kalema, using TV "white spaces" and solar-powered base stations.
  • Brits have in recent times been plagued by nuisance calls, often automated ones from vultures trying to make money out of the "payment protection insurance" mis-selling claims racket, and now BT is itself looking to capitalize on the problem with the launch of a new phone, the BT6500, which allows customers to block calls from "International", "Withheld" and other troublesome categories of call. Euronews predicts this is going to be a winner. — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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    Jeff Baumgartner
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    Jeff Baumgartner,
    User Rank: Light Beer
    2/6/2013 | 4:16:19 PM
    re: Euronews: Virgin CEO to Exit After Takeover
    To avoid obvious gun-jumping, Liberty Global hasn't started the process of-Šfinding-Š a replacement for Berkett, but Liberty Global Presidnet & CEO Michael Fries said on today's call that he feels "extremely comfortable" with Berkett's team and hopes he can keep all of them.-Š

    As an important side note, Liberty Global intends to -Šwill "redomicile" from Delaware to the U.K. and-Šecome a subsidiary of the new-ŠUK plc. holding company. -ŠLiberty Global's current headquarters in Colorado and other "principal offices" will remain in place. JB
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