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Eurobites: SoftBank to Sell Chunk of ARM to Saudi-Backed Fund

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: BT lines up new chairman; Nokia and Deutsche Telekom look for AI innovation; Fujitsu to invest €50 million in AI; Andorra beefs up FTTH with Huawei.

  • A 25% chunk of UK chip designer ARM Ltd. is set to be sold by owner SoftBank Corp. to the Saudi-backed Vision Fund, according to a Financial Times report. SoftBank acquired ARM for a heart-stopping $32 billion in 2016, convinced that the British firm is set to play a major role in the burgeoning Internet of Things market. And as comedian Tony Hancock might have said, 25% is very nearly an ARMful. (See Eurobites: Saudis Join SoftBank's Unicorn Hunt, Eurobites: SoftBank Gives ARM a Free Hand and SoftBank Muscles In on ARM in $32B Deal.)

  • BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) has lined itself up a new chairman: Jan du Plessis, a chartered accountant who is currently chairman of mining giant Rio Tinto, will take the reins on November 1, replacing Sir Mike Rake, who is retiring after ten years as chairman.

  • Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) has teamed up with Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT) 's hub:raum technology incubator to launch a new program for startups. WARP Future Communication, as the program is called, is intended for startups who believe they bring innovation to communication services and related areas such as artificial intelligence. Interested companies need to apply by April 30 at warpaccelerator.com/apply/.

  • Also buzzing around potential AI opportunities is Fujitsu Ltd. (Tokyo: 6702; London: FUJ; OTC: FJTSY), which is to invest more than €50 million ($52.8 million) over five years to support digital innovation in France. Plans include the setting up of an AI-focused Center of Excellence in Paris-Saclay and a joint AI research program with French institute Inria.

  • The tiny principality of Andorra, jammed in the Pyrenees between Spain and France, is apparently one of the most "fiber-deployed" countries in the world. Now Andorra Telecom has chosen Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. to upgrade its existing FTTH network, moving it from EPON to GPON technology and promising to provide 300Mbit/s Internet access to residential and business users.

  • The EVP of 21st Century Fox has dismissed the concerns expressed by a UK government minister about the broadcaster's planned £11.7 billion ($14.2 billion) takeover bid for pay-TV giant Sky . As the BBC reports, Jeffery Palker said that Culture Secretary Karen Bradley's view of the deal was based on a flawed report about media plurality. Bradley is not the only one who fears that the deal would give Fox owner Rupert Murdoch too much control over the British media landscape: Through his News Corp business, Murdoch already owns several major UK newspapers, including the Times, Sunday Times and Sun. (See 21st Century Fox Confirms $14.6B Bid for Sky.)

  • Datamena, a carrier-neutral data center and connectivity platform based in the Middle East, is to deploy Epsilon Telecommunications 's Infiny on-demand connectivity platform. Datamena says that the deal will allow it to connect its business customers directly to cloud service providers around the world "at the click of a button," enabling the deployment of new services.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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