Eurobites: 'We are done,' says Vodafone's Della Valle

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: TIM ready for deals after fixed-line sell-off; Ericsson comes out of DoJ monitorship; Pompeo joins VEON board.

Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe

June 3, 2024

3 Min Read
Margherita Della Valle Group CEO Vodafone
Vodafone CEO Margherita Della Valle(Source: Vodafone Group)
  • After agreeing the sale of Vodafone's Spanish and Italian units, the operator's CEO, Margherita Della Valle, has ruled out any more major deals for the time being, reports City A.M., citing a paywalled Sunday Times interview. Asked about further sell-offs, Della Valle said simply: "No, we are done." Of course, the elephant in her in-tray is still the desired merger with UK rival Three, a union that does not appear close to being blessed by the Competition and Markets Authority. Della Valle was appointed as Vodafone boss in May 2023, promising, among other things, to cut 11,000 jobs over the next three years.

  • On the other hand, however, Telecom Italia CEO Pietro Labriola has told Bloomberg that he is on the lookout for new deals as his company's long-drawn-out sell-off of its fixed-line network, to US private equity company KKR, approaches its conclusion. The €22 billion (US$23.8 billion) sell-off will substantially reduce Telecom Italia's debt pile, freeing up the company to "play an active role in Italy's market consolidation process" over the coming years, said Labriola. Last week the European Commission offered its unconditional approval of the KKR deal, concluding that the transaction did not raise competition concerns within the EU.

  • Ericsson has emerged from its period of "monitorship" imposed by the US Department of Justice following the vendor's violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. The monitor reviewed all aspects of the company's global anti-corruption compliance program, which was put in place following revelations that between 2000 and 2016 Ericsson paid out tens of millions of dollars to bribe customers and high-ranking government officials in China, Africa and the Middle East.

  • Mike Pompeo, the former US Secretary of State, is one of seven directors newly appointed to the board of VEON, the Amsterdam-headquartered global operator. Earlier this year, Pompeo was part of a delegation that visited Kyivstar, VEON's Ukrainian subsidiary, to express support for the beleaguered operator in the face of Russian attacks on its infrastructure. VEON serves around 160 million customers across Asia, Africa and Europe.

  • Nokia has signed an agreement with Gati Shakti Vishwavidyalaya (GSV), an Indian university focusing on transportation and logistics, to pursue joint research and development opportunities in the sector. Among the projected focus areas will be 5G/6G communications targeting air, land and sea transportation applications, as well as standards development, automation and AI labs.

  • White-goods company Haier Europe has chosen Orange Business's Evolution cloud platform to help bring it up to speed, digitalization-wise. The initial Haier deployment includes an approach that Orange calls "Flexible SD-WAN."

  • UK altnet Hyperoptic has appointed four new people to its senior management team. Step forward Robert Osborne (director of enterprise architecture), Robert Baynes (technical operations director), Michele Hanson (head of security) and Mike Bywater (software development director). Hyperoptic is majority-owned by KKR (see second item above).

  • Temu, the Chinese-owned e-commerce site, has been designated a Very Large Online Platform (VLOP) by the EU, meaning it will have to comply with the most stringent rules contained in the Digital Services Act, such as the obligation to assess and mitigate any "systemic risks" stemming from its services. In April, controversial fashion retailer Shein also had VLOP status thrust upon it.

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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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