Eurobites: Telefónica Mulls O2 UK IPO

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Telefónica confirms Telxius IPO; new blood at Colt; Telia's Mr. X; DT demos entertainment over 5G; boogie rock!

  • Confirming rumors that have been circulating in the telecom industry for some months, Telefónica has officially announced that it is examining a number of options for its UK unit, one of which would be an IPO. The planned merger of O2 with Hutchison-owned 3 was vetoed by the European Commission in April on competition grounds, and at one stage it was thought that the UK's decision to exit the European Union might have put the dampeners on Telefónica's quest to find another buyer. (See Telefónica Eyes Alternative Buyers for UK Biz – Report, Eurobites: O2/3 Deal Facing EU Veto and Brexit Batters Telefónica's O2 Sale Plans.)

  • There is one IPO that Telefónica is definitely going ahead with: the Spanish giant has confirmed that it is to float its infrastructure arm, Telxius, during the second half of 2016. It will seek a listing of the shares on the Barcelona, Bilbao, Madrid and Valencia stock exchanges. Telxius owns around 16,000 cellular towers in Spain, Germany, Brazil, Peru and Chile.

  • UK-based Colt Technology Services Group Ltd is undergoing a transfusion of new blood in preparation for what it hopes will be a "business transformation" over the next 12 months. Tom Regent, currently at BT Global Services, joins as chief commercial officer, Paula Cogan (ex-Verizon) becomes regional vice president for EMEA & LatAm, while Tim Passingham leaves Level 3 to take on the role of European vice president of wholesale sales.

  • In other appointments news, Telia 's Brendan Ives, who last month vacated the CEO position at the Nordic operator to make way for Staffan Göjeryd, has been given the enigmatic/laughable job title of "Head of X." Telia's newly created Division X, formerly known more prosaically as New Ventures, has been charged with boosting the company's profile in emerging areas such as cloud, IoT and eHealth.

  • Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT) has been demonstrating what it calls "5G entertainment" at an athletics even held at the Berlin Olympia stadium as part of a wider 5G field test instigated by the Senate Department for Economics, Technology and Research. The operator, in conjunction with Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK), delivered Ultra HD video from a 360-degree camera over a "5G system" to virtual reality glasses, so that fans could view the action from a range of vantage points -- and possibly get a bit of a headache.

  • The European Commission is hoping set some firm guidelines to help prevent abuse of the no-roaming-charge regulations, and has published a consultative document to garner industry input. For more details, see this report on our sister site, Telecoms.com.

  • The Irish government may have decided to appeal it, but the European Commission's ruling that it must claw back up to $14.5 billion in back taxes from Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) has, not surprisingly, been vigorously defended by the Commission's president, Jean-Claude Juncker. As Reuters reports, Juncker said the ruling was clearly based on facts and existing rules and was not made out of spite against the US. Apple boss Tim Cook last week described the ruling as "total political crap." (See Eurobites: Irish Cabinet Decides on Apple Tax Tactics and Eurobites: EC to Charge Apple With Illegal Tax Deals in Ireland.)

  • Chinese equipment vendor ZTE Corp. (Shenzhen: 000063; Hong Kong: 0763) is boasting that it has helped 3 Austria to come up trumps in the Service Experience Score (SES) survey in the face of six competitors from the telecom industry, being awarded the "Service Champion" accolade. Since 2010 ZTE has been busy upgrading 3 Austria's entire network.

  • Israeli satellite company Space Communication wants $50 million or a free ride on a future flight from SpaceX after the explosion last week at SpaceX's Florida launch pad that destroyed Spacecom's Amos-6 satellite. As Reuters reports, Amos-6 was going to be used by, amongst others, Facebook , which had earmarked the satellite to help it supply broadband services in sub-Saharan Africa. (See SpaceX Explosion Blows Hole in Facebook's Africa Plans.)

  • Got a new mobile app to promote? Wanna show the kids how relevant it is/you are to the zeitgeist? Then what you need is a musician the young people of today really dig to plug your product. Step forward Leon Cave, drummer with what the app's developer, Cheeta Mobile, sweetly describes as a "boogie rock band": Yes, it's those poster boys of the digital generation, Status Quo! (And if you really want to see Leon doing his bizarre drumming/dog-feeding thing, click here.)

    The Quo: Poster boys of the digital generation.
    The Quo: Poster boys of the digital generation.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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