Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Colt opts for leadership change; Danish merger is toast; Vodafone launches WiFi calling in UK.
The $15 million "golden handshake" package offered by Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) to departing CEO Michel Combes has been cut in half following widespread outcry over its size, reports Reuters, citing Le Monde newspaper. One of those adding fuel to the fire over the payment was French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron, who described the payment as "shocking" and representing "bad corporate behavior." Since leaving AlcaLu, Combes has become the new boss of Altice , and replaced its founder, Patrick Drahi, as chairman of Numericable-SFR . (See Eurobites: Things Get Hairy for Combes and Ex-AlcaLu Boss Tasked With Bolstering Altice.)
Colt Technology Services Group Ltd , the UK-based operator which was taken private on Thursday by majority shareholder Fidelity, is to have a change of CEO. Rakesh Bhasin, who has been at the helm for nine years on secondment from Fidelity, will step down at the end of the year, returning to Fidelity and making way for Carl Grivner, the former CEO of Pacnet . Grivner joined Colt in May. (See Colt to Jettison Ailing IT Business.)
Telia Company and Telenor Group (Nasdaq: TELN) have abandoned their plan to merge their respective operations in Denmark, after failing to agree on conditions for the merger with the European Commission. In a joint statement, the operators said that the merger discussions had reached a point where it is no longer possible to gain approval for the proposed transaction."
Telefónica says it has completed a successful proof of concept based on SDN and NFV for the enterprise WAN market, in conjunction with NEC Corp. (Tokyo: 6701) and Netcracker Technology Corp. As part of the PoC, NEC/NetCracker and Telefónica built an end-to-end solution for a virtualized VPN service over a virtual CPE, including a full orchestration and self-care stack from NEC/NetCracker.
Vodafone UK is introducing nationwide WiFi calling on a number of smartphones over the next few weeks. The operator says that customers will be able to call "anyone on any network," though international numbers and calls while roaming are excluded.
Viavi Solutions Inc. , which comprises the test systems and service assurance operations of the former JDSU, is seeking to boost its business in Europe as part of its new marketing strategy. The company has struck a non-exclusive deal whereby Microlease, a large test products resale and rental specialist, will sell new Viavi optical and networking test tools to telcos, contractors (and anyone they can pin down long enough) in Germany and the UK, Europe's two largest markets for test kit. Financial terms and plans were not disclosed but Peter Collingwood, CEO at Microlease, is expecting to generate sales worth millions of euros as a result of the partnership and hopes to extend the deal to further territories. Microlease, a company with annual revenues of €150 million ($169 million), is also a channel partner for another major communications networking test vendor, Keysite Technologies (formerly Agilent), and indeed has relationships with all the main test equipment firms, but Collingwood insists there are no overlaps or conflicts of interest. (See JDSU's Viavi Emerges With Broader SDN Focus and JDSU to Complete Split Aug. 1.)
Orange (NYSE: FTE) is to launch what it says is the first mobile-based crowdfunding platform in Africa, in partnership with HelloAsso, a French crowdfunding specialist. Orange Collecte will allow individuals and charities in Côte d'Ivoire to finance their projects by making an appeal through their mobile network.
PCCW Global is to launch a new video-on-demand service in South Africa later this month. Details of the service are set to be announced next week. PCCW Global is the international operating division of HKT Ltd. .
— Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading