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Eurobites: Liberty Global Placates Rivals With €183.5M Payoff

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: union predicts jobs armageddon at Telkom; Liquid Telecom funds African expansion; Ireland reaches out to rural broadband notspots.

  • Liberty Global Inc. (Nasdaq: LBTY) has agreed to pay €183.5 million (US$209 million) to two companies who objected to its acquisition of Germany's KabelBW, reports Reuters. The money will be split between Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT) and cable operator NetCologne once the court cases they instigated against Liberty's Unitymedia unit are terminated. (See Eurobites: Liberty Global Shows Growth and Eurobites: Liberty Merges Euro Operations.)

  • It's not easy being a landline operator: South Africa's Telkom SA Ltd. (NYSE/Johannesburg: TKG) could be about to cut up to 10,000 jobs, according to a Reuters report. The prediction came from the Solidarity labor union, which is expecting to receive official details of the operator's redundancies plan later today. The South African government holds around 40% of Telkom.

  • Liquid Telecom , a fiber infrastructure provider that is controlled by Africa's Econet Wireless but has its headquarters in London, has raised $150 million to help fund its plan to build superfast broadband networks across Africa, reports the Financial Times (subscription required). The company has already built fiber networks across 15 African nations, and it plans to enter three more countries this year.

  • Ireland's plans to connect the country's currently unserved rural corners to fiber broadband should start coming to fruition in 2016, according to an interview with the country's Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources on the Silicon Republic website. By 2020, the rollout should be complete, added the minister, Alex White.

  • Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. has appointed three new non-execs to the board of its UK subsidiary, among them Lord Browne, formerly CEO of oil giant BP, who becomes non-executive chairman.

  • A brave new world of automotive control? Or an accident waiting to happen? You decide. Swiss "automotive visionary" Frank M. Rinderknecht has floated the idea of a robotic arm that will, one day in the future, offer those being driven around in a driverless car the chance to temporarily take back control of the steering, should they want to. The gizmo, says Rinderknecht's company Rinspeed, will "hand the steering wheel to the driver of front passenger as desired, thereby transferring command." It's all sounding a bit Professor Pat Pending to us…

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

  • Susan Fourtané 2/19/2015 | 10:37:51 PM
    Re: What's the point? Maybe we are missing something, Paul. Otherwise, it doesn't make sense. 

    Thanks. :) I think Wacky Races was big everywhere. They used the same characters in several other cartoon series afterwards.

    Even Penelope Pitstop had her own cartoon. Speaking of which, she had a very smart car with all that lipstick and makeup robotic-arm technology there. :D  

    -Susan 
    PaulERainford 2/17/2015 | 7:25:02 AM
    Re: What's the point? Yes, I agree Susan, but perhaps we're missing something?


    Good video work - was Wacky Races big in Finland too? There'll always be a place in my heart for the Arkansas Chug-a-bug.



    Susan Fourtané 2/17/2015 | 7:14:58 AM
    What's the point? Paul, 

    I don't see the point in the "automotive visionary's" idea of a robotic arm to let people take back control of the steering in autonomous cars because, for example, that's an option that already exists in Volvo's autonomous cars. Maybe the automotive visionary doesn't know about this. :/ Or, maybe this could be for cars that not have the option to take control of the steering back? 

    And to add to your Professor Pat bit here is the Wacky Races opening. :) 

    [email protected] 2/16/2015 | 9:35:40 AM
    Adding to M&A costs.... SO that's an extra 6%+ bump to the purchase price of KabelBW -- I wonder if there are any other cable sector M&A expenses lurking around Europe?
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