Eurobites: Vodafone Eyes Italian Prize

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Deutsche Telekom Q3 numbers; TV soccer victory for BT; Liberty completes tender offer for Ziggo.

  • Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) is eyeing up a major stake in Metroweb SpA , the Italian fiber network operator, according to a Bloomberg report. The acquisition would help Vodafone compete with Telecom Italia (TIM) in the delivery of high-speed broadband, though the report speculates that Telecom Italia might also be interested in getting its hands on Metroweb.

  • Net revenues at Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT) inched up 0.8% year-on-year in the third quarter to €15.64 billion (US$19.56 billion), though net profits were down 13.9% to €506 million ($633 million) in the same period. Investments in Germany and the US took their toll on the bottom line, but the operator boasted that it had, among other things, extended its lead in the German mobile market and achieved record customer growth in its T-Mobile US Inc. operation.

  • In the latest round of the UK's TV soccer wars, a court has ruled that triple-play provider Sky must make its Sky Sports 1 and 2 channels available to viewers using rival BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA)'s YouView TV service. Reuters reports that regulator Ofcom is happy with the decision, which vindicates its original ruling of 2010 concerning the "wholesale must offer" (WMO) mechanism. (See Eurobites: Soccer Surge for BT's Fiscal Q4, BT's Got Balls and Confirmed: BT's Got Euroballs.)

  • The share price of UK-based Cable & Wireless Communications dropped 8% Thursday morning, reports The Guardian, following the news that it has agreed to buy Columbus International for $1.85 billion. Columbus International, backed by Liberty Global Inc. (Nasdaq: LBTY)'s John Malone, is a cable operator and broadband provider serving the Caribbean and Central America.

  • Talking of Liberty Global, the US cable giant has completed its €10 billion ($12.5 billion) tender offer for Ziggo B.V. , the Dutch cable operator. Liberty's initial offer was rejected by Ziggo in October 2013, but it returned to the table with an improved bid. (See Liberty Global to Buy Ziggo for €10B and Ziggo Rejects Liberty Takeover Bid .)

  • Swisscom AG (NYSE: SCM) managed to counter the effect of falling prices with healthy growth in its third quarter, pushing net income up 6% year-on-year to 1.3 billion ($1.35 billion) Swiss francs. Bundled offerings, in both mobile and fixed line, are just some of the growth drivers.

  • BT has collaborated with mobile operator EE and devices giant High Tech Computer Corp. (HTC) (Taiwan: 2498) to develop a new service, which, says BT, can pinpoint the source of emergency 999 calls from mobiles 4,000 times more accurately than the existing system. The system, called AML (Advanced Mobile Location), can identify the source of a mobile emergency call to within 0.003 square kilometers, which is less than half the size of a soccer pitch.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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