Comms chips

Euronews: Nov. 3

Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU), Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM), Fastweb SpA (Milan: FWB), and BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) are the lumpy bits in today's broth of Euro telecom news.

  • Did you know Alcatel-Lucent had a vacuum business? Neither did we. We're talking industrial pump solutions rather than Hoovers but it doesn't matter because it's being sold anyway, for €200 million ($281 million), so that AlcaLu can focus on the stuff that we do know it does. German company Pfeiffer Vacuum Technology is the lucky purchaser. (See AlcaLu to Sell Vacuum Biz for €200M.)

  • There may be more M&A activity in next-generation wireless chips on the horizon as Qualcomm says it is looking to grow in Europe organically as well as through acquisition, reports Reuters. The company’s president in Europe, Andrew Gilbert, told the German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung that the company would not ignore acquisition opportunities if they arose. (See Intel Looks to Infineon for the Full SOC, Intel to Acquire Infineon's Wireless Biz, Broadcom to Buy a 4G Strategy Via Beceem, Broadcom Snares Femto Chipmaker, and Broadcom vs. Qualcomm Goes Femto .)

  • The founder of Swisscom AG (NYSE: SCM) subsidiary Fastweb and the former chief executive of Telecom Italia Sparkle were up in court yesterday in Italy, reports The Financial Times, at the start of what has been described as the country's largest ever case of alleged tax fraud and money laundering.

  • Nowtel, an Irish firm specializing in providing cheap prepaid numbers for businesses, has gone bust with debts of almost €140 million (US$196 million), reports Independent.ie. Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) is owed the most, with debts of €24.5 million ($34.4 million) outstanding.

  • Plans to privatize Kosovo's state-owned telco, Post and Telecommunications of Kosovo JSC (PTK) , will be delayed following the dissoluton of the fragile nation's government, reports Reuters. Nothing will happen now until after fresh elections, which have been set for December 12.

  • Is this a class action I see before me? Lawyers in Wales have warned UK giant BT that it could face a wave of compensation claims from its former engineers, reports Wales Online. Around 300 retired engineers are currently involved in a case which is seeking compensation for the workers having had their hearing seriously damaged by the equipment they used while working for the company in the 1970s and 1980s.

    Elsewhere in Europe:

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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