Also in today's EMEA roundup: France Télécom, Ericsson and Virgin lift lid on their first quarters; Ofcom rethinks spectrum distribution

Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe

April 24, 2013

2 Min Read
Euronews: Bidding War for Maroc Telecom Stake

Etisalat, Maroc Telecom, France Télécom – Orange and Ericsson AB are among the movers 'n' shakers in today's lineup of EMEA headlines.

  • A bidding war is hotting up nicely for Vivendi's 53 percent stake in Morocco's Maroc Telecom, reports Reuters, with Etisalat saying it will make a US$6 billion binding offer in the face of keen interest from another of the Middle East's ambitious telcos, Qatar's Ooredoo (formerly Qatar Telecom QSC (Qtel)). Morocco's government still owns a 30 percent stake in Maroc Telecom, which could complicate matters. (See Pyramid: Three's a Crowd in Morocco.)

  • France Telecom's domestic struggles continue to drag down its numbers, with mobile service revenues on its home turf slipping 2.9 percent year-on-year and overall EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) down 4.1 percent year-on-year to €3.12 billion ($4.06 billion). (See Euronews: Iliad's Clogging Our Network, Says FT.)

  • At Ericsson, margins and profits took a hammering in the first quarter, with net income down 86 percent year-on-year to 1.2 billion Swedish kronor ($182 million). Revenues, however, are up slightly at SEK52 billion ($7.87 billion) and the management is still confident of a recovery in profits before the year's end. (See Euronews: Ericsson Accentuates the Positive.)

  • U.K. regulator Ofcom is considering a different, more flexible approach to spectrum distribution, according to a Reuters report. Ofcom's CEO, Ed Richards, said that measures could include operators owning specific bits of spectrum for shorter periods as new data needs emerge, rather than bagging big chunks of spectrum for years at a time. (See UK 4G Auction Falls Short.)

  • The U.K.'s Virgin Media Inc., which is in the process of being swallowed by Liberty Global Inc., saw first-quarter revenues rise 3.6 percent year-on-year to £1.04 billion ($1.58 billion). Net income was also up, to £139 million ($212 million). Virgin's TiVo Inc.-powered TV service continues to perform well, and now accounts for 40 percent of all its TV subscriptions. (See Liberty Global Gets Go-Ahead for Virgin Takeover.)

  • Telefónica SA is to sell the Samsung Corp. Galaxy S4 smartphone across Europe and Latin America, the two companies announced Wednesday morning. (See Samsung Galaxy S4: Gesturing at the Future.)— Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

About the Author(s)

Paul Rainford

Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

Paul is based on the Isle of Wight, a rocky outcrop off the English coast that is home only to a colony of technology journalists and several thousand puffins.

He has worked as a writer and copy editor since the age of William Caxton, covering the design industry, D-list celebs, tourism and much, much more.

During the noughties Paul took time out from his page proofs and marker pens to run a small hotel with his other half in the wilds of Exmoor. There he developed a range of skills including carrying cooked breakfasts, lying to unwanted guests and stopping leaks with old towels.

Now back, slightly befuddled, in the world of online journalism, Paul is thoroughly engaged with the modern world, regularly firing up his VHS video recorder and accidentally sending text messages to strangers using a chipped Nokia feature phone.

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