Light Reading

Eurobites: Sawiris Eyes Telecom Italia Investment

Paul Rainford

Also in today's EMEA regional news roundup: BT challenges "margin squeeze" note; eircom considers IPO; European Commission targets mHealth.

  • Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris wants to have another go at investing up to $2 billion in struggling Telecom Italia SpA (NYSE: TI), but only if Telefónica SA (NYSE: TEF), the biggest shareholder in Telecom Italia, pulls out of the Italian group, reports Reuters, citing Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore. In 2012 Sawiris, with an eye to expanding Telecom Italia's business in Brazil, offered to invest $3.9 billion in the operator, but the bid was rejected. (See Euronews: Telecom Italia Commits to Brazil.)

  • BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) has hit back at a broker's note that helped shave 2% off its share price on Tuesday, reports the Daily Telegraph. The note, from Redburn, had suggested that a potential investigation by regulator Ofcom into BT's wholesale fiber broadband charges could force its Openreach division to cut the monthly wholesale charge by £2 ($3.34). But a BT spokesman described the analysis as "flawed," saying it "understates the revenues and overstates the costs that would be taken into account in any margin squeeze assessment."

  • Irish operator eircom is considering an IPO and has hired bankers Rothschild to look into the matter, according to a Reuters report. Two years ago, groaning under a $5.2 billion debt pile, eircom filed for "examinership" protection from its creditors. (See Lenders to Lean on Eircom and Eurobites: Eircom Joins Vectoring Club.)

  • The European Commission is launching a consultation (stop yawning at the back!) on "mHealth," or healthcare that uses mobile technology. The aim is to find "ways to enhance the health and wellbeing of Europeans with the use of mobile devices." Apparently, there are nearly 100,000 mHealth apps already on the market. Of course, there are some who would argue that getting rid of a few mobile devices might improve our health, but that's another story.

  • South Africa's Vodacom Pty. Ltd. and MTN Group Ltd. are to buy the mobile subscribers of Nashua Mobile, a middleman company which found phone users suitable mobile packages from the country's network operators. Vodacom and MTN will pay 2.26 billion rand ($215 million) for the subscribers who signed up to their networks and services through Nashua.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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    User Rank: Light Sabre
    4/15/2014 | 8:51:50 AM
    I'm too fond of pints, imperial or otherwise.
    User Rank: Light Sabre
    4/15/2014 | 4:09:07 AM
    Dennis, I can't help feeling you're not totally onboard with the Great European Experiment.
    User Rank: Light Sabre
    4/14/2014 | 3:59:26 PM
    The study will take 12 to 18 months to conduct, at a cost of at least 30 million euro. And the main conclusion will be ... further study is required.
    User Rank: Blogger
    4/14/2014 | 3:44:20 PM
    If the 10,000 mHealth apps couldn't answer that question, I'm not sure a Commission will have better least not if they think apps are the answer.
    User Rank: Light Sabre
    4/14/2014 | 9:26:17 AM
    Nice to see the EC bureaucrats are hard at work creating months- (if not years-) long studies into the blatantly obvious.
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