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Eurobites: EC Probes Facebook/WhatsApp Deal

Paul Rainford
9/2/2014
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Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Telefónica exits Telecom Italia; Nokia's in collaborative mood; eircom IPO latest.

  • Could the European Commission trip up Facebook 's planned $16 billion acquisition of OTT messaging provider WhatsApp? Antitrust regulators have sent out a questionnaire to Facebook's rivals and other operators asking them whether they think the acquisition, if completed, would lead to a "negative impact" for users of mobile messaging and social networks, reports Reuters. WhatsApp has more than 450 million monthly active users, nearly three-quarters of which use the app more than once a day. (See Facebook to Acquire WhatsApp for $16B.)

  • Telefónica SA (NYSE: TEF) Chairman Cesar Alierta has made it clear that once his company's proposed acquisition of Brazil's Global Village Telecom (GVT) is completed, the Spanish giant will sever all financial ties with Telecom Italia SpA (NYSE: TI), reports Reuters. Last week Telefónica prevailed in a bidding battle between it and Telecom Italia for GVT, which is currently owned by Vivendi . (See Telefónica, Telecom Italia in $9B Battle to Buy Brazil's GVT.)

  • Nokia Networks has created a new business unit to deal with its growing number of partners. The vendor claims it is introducing a new era of collaboration that is needed as the "pace of change" in the telecom sector accelerates. "We are starting to work with new as well as existing partners in 4 different ways, some evolutionary and some more revolutionary. We are calling these 4 ways 'Extend,' 'Embed,' 'Plug In,' and 'Channel,'" noted the company in a corporate blog post.

  • A planned flotation by Ireland's eircom looks likely to go ahead in October as interest from trade buyers and private equity firms fades away, reports The Independent. The operator is looking to raise €1 billion ($1.3 billion) from the flotation. AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) had previously been linked to a potential bid. (See Eurobites: AT&T Linked to Irish Acquisition.)

  • Uber, the taxi-summoning app that has had "traditional" taxi drivers clogging up streets across Europe in protest, has been banned in Germany, reports the BBC, citing Der Spiegel. The ruling, however, is a temporary injunction, so Uber could be back in business there soon.

  • Swisscom AG (NYSE: SCM) has teamed up with rival operators Sunrise and Salt SA and rail company SBB to improve mobile phone reception and data speed on regional trains. The three operators will cover part of the 300 million Swiss francs ($325 million) in investment needed to equip the carriages with repeaters and add new antennas to expand external mobile coverage.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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    mendyk
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    mendyk,
    User Rank: Light Sabre
    9/2/2014 | 9:39:34 AM
    Re: Uber the top
    Yes, that came to me after I hit the send button.

     
    PaulERainford
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    PaulERainford,
    User Rank: Light Sabre
    9/2/2014 | 9:38:37 AM
    Re: Uber the top
    A case of uber and out?
    Ariella
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    Ariella,
    User Rank: Light Sabre
    9/2/2014 | 9:26:44 AM
    Re: Uber the top
    @Mendyl for those of us in the US, today feels like Monday.
    mendyk
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    mendyk,
    User Rank: Light Sabre
    9/2/2014 | 9:24:01 AM
    Re: Uber the top
    Must be too early in the week for a bit of tongue in cheek. Maybe Paul will respond when he gets back from his tea break.
    Ariella
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    Ariella,
    User Rank: Light Sabre
    9/2/2014 | 9:22:22 AM
    Re: Uber the top
    The Mashable article on it says "This ruling is the result of a lawsuit brought forth by Taxi Deutschland, a German cab association that also offers a taxi-ordering app. Taxi Deutschland argues Uber skirts safety and insurance regulations that apply to conventional cabs." It sounds rather like trying to keep as much of a monopolistic hold as possible to me. 
    mendyk
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    mendyk,
    User Rank: Light Sabre
    9/2/2014 | 8:42:57 AM
    Uber the top
    Wait -- Uber is now banned in Germany? Where are the irony cops?
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