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Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: UK government plans to carry on (data-)snooping; Telefonica must cough up; operators bend EU's ear.

Eurobites: Google Ventures Crosses the Pond

Paul Rainford
7/10/2014
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Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: UK government plans to carry on (data-)snooping; Telefónica must cough up; operators bend EU's ear.

  • Google Ventures has launched a European branch in London, backed by an initial investment of $100 million, reports Bloomberg. In the US, Google Ventures has put money into Nest Labs and Uber Technologies, among others. (See Google to Buy Nest for $3.2B.)

  • The UK government plans to rush through emergency legislation that will allow the police and security services to continue to have access to personal mobile and other data records, reports the BBC. The move is a response to the recent European Court of Justice ruling that an earlier EU directive -- which formed the basis of UK's Data Retention (EC Direction) Act of 2009 -- was no longer valid. Not surprisingly, civil liberties groups are not happy about the news, calling it a "stitch-up" that is being railroaded through on a cross-party basis without proper scrutiny. See this report in The Guardian for more on their gripes.

  • The €152 million ($206 million) fine slapped on Telefónica SA (NYSE: TEF) by the European Commission for effectively imposing unfair prices on its competitors in the Spanish market has been upheld in the European Court of Justice. See this CoJ press release for the Court's explanation of its decision to completely dismiss Telefonica's appeal against the fine.

  • Russian operator MegaFon has completed its acquisition of a 50% share in Euroset, Russia's largest mobile phone retailer, for $657.3 million.

  • Some of Europe's heaviest telecom industry hitters have combined with the GSM Association (GSMA) to present a statement to Matteo Renzi, Prime Minister of Italy and President of the Council of the European Union, requesting, among other things: a "pro-investment regulatory framework"; support for the re-allocation of spectrum; a new interpretation of merger guidelines to support increased consolidation; and a "level playing field of regulation" between the communications industry on the one hand and the "Internet industry" on the other. (See Euro Operators Appeal to EU President.)

  • A study commissioned by BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) has concluded that the "social value" of being online is worth more than ₤1,000 ($1,710) a year, when factors such as improved employment opportunities and reduced feelings of isolation are taken into consideration. And there's always a chance that one of those badly spelt emails from Nigeria will help boost your bank account, of course.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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    Susan Fourtané
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    Susan Fourtané,
    User Rank: Light Sabre
    7/11/2014 | 1:32:19 AM
    Google ventures crosses the pond
    Having London been declared the technology capital of the world launching a European branch in London sounds like a smart idea.

    London's tech sector is going to be boosted further and even more startups are going to set their eyes in the English capital. This will give Google Ventures a variety of European tech companies from which to choose and help grow. 

    It's a great chance to access new investment, encourage job creation, and economic growth not only in London but in Europe as a whole. 

    Earlier this month, Santander UK was also reported to set up a $100m venture capital fund that will be based in London as plan of its investment in financial technology start-ups around the globe.

    Great news, indeed.

    -Susan
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