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Eurobites: Iliad Slumps on T-Mobile Bidding Battle Fears

Ray Le Maistre

Also in today's regional roundup: Belgacom holds steady and inks new deal with Vodafone; Turkcell ownership battle over.

  • Iliad (Euronext: ILD) saw its share price lose almost 8% of its value on the Paris stock exchange Friday morning, reflecting investor concern that the French operator might get drawn into a bidding battle for T-Mobile US Inc. following its audacious offer for a majority stake in the US service provider. Iliad, best known for disrupting the French market with its Free brand, has offered $15 billion in cash for a 56.6% stake in T-Mobile US, which just reported that it hit 50 million customers, but according to this this Reuters report, it runs the risk of engaging in a bidding war with Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S). (See Iliad Offers $15B for a Stake in T-Mobile, Does T-Mobile Need Sprint to Scale?, T-Mobile Expands VoLTE, Gets Going with 700MHz 4G and Sprint, T-Mobile Settle on $32B Price.)

  • Belgacom SA (Euronext: BELG) generated revenues only slightly down from a year ago at nearly €1.57 billion ($2.1 billion), and reported earnings that were higher than expected due to one-time gains. The near stabilization of revenues is significant, as the operator reported a 6% year-on-year dip in sales for the first quarter, and the general trend among European incumbent operators is for a steady decline in group revenues. See this earnings release and this Marketwatch report for more details.

  • Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) and Belgacom have renewed their Partner Market agreement in Belgium and Luxembourg for a further three years. In addition to a standard roaming agreement, the partnership provides Vodafone Global Enterprise customers with international managed services through a single point of contact in those countries. The two companies also team up for joint mobile device procurement.

  • A seven-year battle for ownership of Turkcell Iletisim Hizmetleri A.S. (NYSE: TKC) appears to be over after conglomerate Cukurova Holding paid Alfa Group US$1.6 billion for a disputed stake in Turkey's biggest mobile operator. See this Reuters article for more.

  • Swedish cable operator Com Hem AB , which staged a successful IPO in June, has been linked to a possible takeover bid for Norway's second largest cabl;e operator, Get, according to Reuters. (See Eurobites: Com Hem Sparks Gold Rush.)

  • 3 Group Europe, the regional mobile business that is part of the Hutchison Whampoa Ltd. (Hong Kong: 0013; Pink Sheets: HUWHY) empire, reported improved financials and customer numbers for the first half of 2014. The group, which has operations in Austria, Denmark, Ireland, Italy, Sweden and the UK, had 22.6 million active customers at the end of June, and generated revenues of HK$31.1 billion (US$4 billion) in the first half of the year, up 3% year-on-year. Earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) improved 23% to HK$2.28 billion (US$294 million).

    — Ray Le Maistre, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profile, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

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    User Rank: Light Sabre
    8/3/2014 | 6:56:56 PM
    Iliad: "Oops!"
    Iliad's bid clearly made no sense.  Now the market is telling them so.  Let's see how quickly can they issue another press release with some half-baked cover story for why they're backing out. 
    User Rank: Light Sabre
    8/1/2014 | 1:44:48 PM
    Re: Profile raised....
    A Jersey band. Of course.
    User Rank: Blogger
    8/1/2014 | 1:32:18 PM
    Re: Profile raised....
    Ah yes, Summer Madness was a big hit for KatG back in 1974. Very topical I think ...
    User Rank: Blogger
    8/1/2014 | 12:33:01 PM
    Re: Profile raised....
    I prefered Kool and the Gang... 
    User Rank: Light Sabre
    8/1/2014 | 12:01:12 PM
    Re: Profile raised....
    Ray -- Given your love of the Greek classics (ouzo, spanikopita, etc.), I am surprised you haven't referred yet to Iliad's Odyssey. That shows great restraint on your part.
    User Rank: Blogger
    8/1/2014 | 8:07:15 AM
    Profile raised....
    SO everyone in France knows Iliad/Free very well -- now a lot more people globally are paying attention....
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