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Eurobites: Monsieur Iliad Flashes Cash in Monaco

Paul Rainford

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Slim looks to eastern Europe; KPN's Dutch mobile business implodes; Nokia/Microsoft deal closes.

  • Xavier Niel, the billionaire founder of, and still major stakeholder in, French mobile operator Iliad (Euronext: ILD), has bought a majority stake in Monaco Telecom . Niel paid €321.7 million (US$445 million) for Cable & Wireless Communications plc (London: CWC)'s 55% stake in the operator, which is the market leader in the cash-soaked principality in the south of France. Niel's Iliad, through its Free Mobile brand, has been shaking up the French mobile market over the last couple of years with its discounted tariffs, and has been in talks this month over the possible acquisition of larger rival Bouygues Telecom . (See C&W Comms Sells Its Stake in Monaco Telecom and Free Disrupts French Mobile Market.)

  • And on the subject of billionaires, Carlos Slim is set to use his new-found control of Telekom Austria AG (NYSE: TKA; Vienna: TKA) as a base for expansion in central and eastern Europe, according to this Reuters report. A shareholder agreement that effectively hands control of Telekom Austria to Slim's América Móvil S.A. de C.V. was approved by Austria's state holding company earlier this week.

  • And lo, it came to pass: Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) has completed the sale of its Devices & Services business to Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT). In a statement, Nokia said that it now expected the total transaction price to be slightly higher than the previously announced €5.44 billion ($7.52 billion) after final adjustments have been made. Will it prove to be a bargain or a money-pit?

  • KPN Telecom NV (NYSE: KPN), which managed to fend off a takeover bid from Carlos Slim, saw overall its EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax and other stuff) fall 21% year-on-year to €621 million ($858.2 million) in its first quarter, with, as Reuters reports, its Dutch consumer mobile business taking a particularly heavy hit. Revenues were also down notably, by 8.2% year-on-year to €2 billion ($2.77 billion). The operator has just completed its 4G rollout in the Netherlands -- maybe this can help it make up for lost ground. (See Euronews: KPN Foundation Blocks Slim's Bid.)

  • Also on the financial down-escalator is Nordic operator Tele2 AB (Nasdaq: TLTO), which has seen first-quarter revenues slip 3% to 7.1 billion Swedish kronor ($1.0 billion), and EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) fall 7% to SEK1.3 billion ($197 million). Earlier this year Tele2 sold its residential cable and fiber business to Norway's Telenor ASA (Nasdaq: TELN) for SEK793 million ($120 million). For more details, here's the interim report in full.

  • Swisscom AG (NYSE: SCM) has offered 230 million Swiss francs ($260 million) to take control of phone directories firm local.ch, which is currently owned by PubliGroupe. If the deal goes ahead, Swisscom will inherit an 800-strong workforce.

  • The North Wales seaside resort of Rhyl has been declared the 200th town in the UK to benefit from EE 's 4G rollout. EE now claims to have 2 million customers signed up to its 4G service, 18 months since its launch.

    Pitcuresque Rhyl: Surprisingly quiet at this time of year.
    Pitcuresque Rhyl: Surprisingly quiet at this time of year.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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    User Rank: Light Sabre
    4/29/2014 | 10:41:56 AM
    With cash in hands, MSFT can afford to have it as a money pit for a while provided it sets a clear roadmap for the handset division moving forward.
    User Rank: Light Sabre
    4/28/2014 | 11:56:57 PM
    far and wide
    200 towns covered by LTE in 18 months. That's LTE coverage far and wide in UK. So anybody in LR community from UK who can comment on how this has changed lives of the citizens.
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