Eurobites: Vodafone Reorganizes in Europe

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Amino to buy Entone; Nokia nears HERE sale; Openreach boss vents.

  • Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) is simplifying its European management structure, with the chief executives of the group's four largest European markets -- Hannes Ametsreiter in Germany, Aldo Bisio in Italy, Jeroen Hoencamp in the UK and Antonio Coimbra in Spain -- becoming members of the Group Executive Committee and reporting directly to Group CEO Vittorio Colao. As part of the management overhaul, Philipp Humm, currently CEO for the Europe region, is to leave the company later this year. The moves come in the wake of Vodafone's discussions with cable giant Liberty Global Inc. (Nasdaq: LBTY) over a possible asset swap, which would see Vodafone acquire cable assets from Liberty in a number of European markets and Liberty taking over mobile networks owned by Vodafone elsewhere. (See Vodafone in Asset-Swap Talks With Liberty.)

  • UK-based Amino Technologies plc (London: AMO), a specialist in IPTV, is to buy Entone Inc. for $73 million. The acquisition will bring another 150 or so global customers onto Amino's books. Amino has also revealed its first-half results, recording a 9% year-on-year growth in revenue to ₤17.9 million (US27.8 million) and a 23% growth in gross profit to ₤9.1 million ($14.1 million).

  • Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) is close to agreeing the terms of the sale of its HERE mapping business to a consortium of German carmakers, according to a Bloomberg report. Closure of the deal could happen as early as next week, say unnamed sources. This week Nokia announced that HERE had made HD map data available for automated vehicle tests in the US, France, Germany and Japan. (See Carmakers Closing In on Nokia HERE – Report.)

  • The CEO of Openreach , BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA)'s access division, has thrown his weight into the argument over whether Openreach should be split up from the UK incumbent, reports the Daily Telegraph. Joe Garner said that regulator Ofcom's review of the communications market -- which will include a look into a possible separation of BT and Openreach -- was in danger of being "hijacked by corporate rivalries." (See Ofcom Could Still Make BT Do Splits.)

  • The Slovenian government is set to rule on the sale of Telekom Slovenije after the summer break, according to Reuters. UK private equity firm Cinven Ltd. is the only current bidder for the operator, which has a market capitalization of €574 million ($624 million).

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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