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Eurobites: Vodafone Shifts $2.6B Stake From Safaricom to Vodacom

Paul Rainford
5/15/2017
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Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Sophos soars in wake of WannaCry attack; T-Mobile rolls out NB-IoT network in the Netherlands; Brussels approves Broadcom's Brocade acquisition.

  • Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) has transferred its 35% stake in Safaricom to Vodacom, its South African subsidiary, in a deal worth €2.36 billion (US$2.58 billion). The deal will increase its ownership in Vodacom from 65% to 70%, though Vodafone will continue to hold a 5% "indirect" interest in Safaricom Ltd. Vodafone says the deal will streamline the management of its sub-Saharan African holdings and strengthen cooperation between Safaricom and Vodacom Pty. Ltd.

  • As businesses and public sector organizations across the EMEA start to get to grips with the WannaCry ransomware attack that first emerged on Friday, wreaking havoc in the UK's National Health Service, one of the few sectors to benefit from the attack is, of course, the cybersecurity sector, with UK-based security firm Sophos plc up 6.8% in Monday morning trading. Elsewhere, French carmaker Renault, which had had to halt production at many of its factories to shield them from the attack, said that 90% of its plants were up and running again.

  • T-Mobile Netherlands says it will become the first Dutch operator to turn on a nationwide NB-IoT network when it flicks the switch at the end of May.

  • The European Commission has given its blessing to the acquisition of Brocade by Broadcom Corp. (Nasdaq: BRCM) subject to the latter agreeing to "cooperate closely and in a timely manner" with competing suppliers of Host Bus Adaptor (HBA) cards to ensure interoperability and to protect third-party information. Broadcom is paying $5.9 billion for Brocade, mainly for its storage business. (See Broadcom Buys Brocade for $5.9B, Will Ditch Ruckus & IP Biz.)

  • Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) is introducing some new analytics offerings, trumpeting what it describes as their "new machine learning capabilities." One of them, Nokia Autonomous Customer Care, can interact with voice-activated "intelligent assistants" such as Apple Siri and Amazon Alexa, allowing an operator's disgruntled customers to, for example, shout obscenities at a speaker rather than being put on hold for eternity in the usual fashion.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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