Light Reading
Also in today's EMEA roundup: Price range set for MegaFon IPO; Telefónica reassures investors; Iliad still poaching, but at slower rate

Euronews: KPN Sells German Tower Sites

Paul Rainford
11/15/2012
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KPN Telecom NV (NYSE: KPN), TeliaSonera AB (Nasdaq: TLSN) and Telefónica SA (NYSE: TEF) are on the platter in today's running buffet of EMEA news headlines.

  • As predicted in these virtual pages last week, Dutch incumbent KPN has agreed to sell its 2,000 or so German tower sites to American Tower Corp. (NYSE: AMT) for around €393 million (US$501 million). The deal is expected to close before the end of the year. The move comes just four months after Carlos Slim's América Móvil S.A. de C.V. acquired 27.7 percent of KPN, giving the Mexican billionaire effective control of the carrier. (See American Tower Buys German Sites and Euronews: Slim's Stealthy Expansion .)

  • TeliaSonera has announced the price range for MegaFon 's planned IPO on the London and Moscow exchanges, which should see the Russian operator's shares start to trade on Nov. 28. The price range has been set at US$20-25 per share, which would raise a minimum of $1.7 billion and value Megafon at $11-14 billion. TeliaSonera expects to bank $1.32-1.62 billion from the share sale. Depending on the results of the IPO, TeliaSonera may reduce its current 35.6 percent stake in Megafon but retain a stake of at least 25 percent plus one share in MegaFon after the IPO.

  • Telefónica's CFO has told investors that next year's dividend is "100 percent safe," reports Bloomberg, seeking to offer them reassurance after it and several European operators reduced payouts this year. (See Euronews: Orange Squeezes Its Payout and Euronews: Telekom Austria Slashes Dividend.)

  • Iliad (Euronext: ILD)'s cut-price Free Mobile service is still poaching French mobile customers from its more established rivals, though the rate of defection has slowed, according to a Reuters poke into the operator's third-quarter results. Around 805,000 customers switched to Free Mobile from rivals in the quarter, down from 990,000 in the second quarter and a staggering 2.6 million in the first. Its market share now stands at 6.4 percent. (See Iliad Disrupts the French Mobile Scene and Euronews: FT's Q1 Suffers Free Fall.)

  • Could Africa be BlackBerry 's savior? The Guardian carries a report on how the BlackBerry continues to the smartphone of choice for Nigeria's upwardly, er, mobile. Half of Nigeria's 4 million or so smartphone owners use a Blackberry, despite them costing as much as a thousand times the average daily wage.

  • With CacheLogic/Velocix already on his résumé, serial technology entrepreneur Adam Twiss has formed a new joint venture called SwiftServe to tackle the caching and optimized delivery of video traffic. (See New CDN Twist for Twiss.)

  • Carphone Warehouse Group plc (London: CPW), the U.K.-based mobile retailer, could be on the verge of buying back the 50 percent stake in its European operation that it sold to U.S. retailer Best Buy for £1.1 billion ($1.74 billion) in 2008, reports the Daily Telegraph.

  • YouView TV Ltd. , the British Broadcasting Corp. (BBC) -backed catch-up TV service that had a difficult and protracted birth, may have to change its name following a legal challenge from Total, a U.K. business-to-business telecom service provider, reports the BBC. Total filed the "YourView" name as a trademark in 2009, and a court has ruled, hardly surprisingly, that YouView is "confusingly similar." If the name-change does have to happen, it will be bad news for broadband provider TalkTalk , which has high hopes for its YouView-based TV service, which it launched recently.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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