Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Vodafone fattens up Wallet offering; Sicily gains Internet exchange; Telecom Italia prepares towers listing.
Cloud services player Interoute Communications Ltd. is aiming to double its annual revenues to €1 billion (US$1.08 billion) during the next five years by expanding its network of European data centers, a move that will be aided by the backing of new private equity investors. The UK's Aleph Capital Partners and US-based Crestview Partners have acquired a 30% stake in Interoute from Emirates International Telecommunications (EIT) for an undisclosed sum. That investment will enable Interoute to "make more acquisitions and build its business in the UK, USA and across Europe," the operator stated. Interoute has not yet announced its 2014 financials but generated revenues of €417 million ($452 million) in 2013 and has been growing healthily during the past year. (See Interoute Reports 2013 Results .)
European customers of Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) will be able to make bank card payments using the Vodafone Wallet service from the second half of this year thanks to new agreements the operator has struck with Visa and Carta Worldwide. The mobile payments service has been launched in Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and the UK and currently works using the SmartPass system Vodafone launched with Visa in 2013. Customers need an NFC-enabled SIM card to make use of the service. (See Vodafone to Enable NFC-Enabled Payments Across Europe.)
Vodafone also revealed it had appointed Matthias Döpfner as a non-executive director. Döpfner serves as chairman and CEO of German publishing group Axel Springer and will replace Luc Vandevelde on Vodafone's board. A former chairman of UK retail giant Marks & Spencer, Vandevelde is due to retire.
Internet exchange provider DE-CIX Management GmbH is to establish a new exchange in Sicily through a partnership with Telecom Italia Sparkle , the international services arm of the Italian telecom incumbent. In a statement, TI Sparkle said the new facility would be closer to North Africa, the Mediterranean and the Middle East than any other European peering point. "We will be able to better serve ISPs in the area, including Africa and the Middle East, by bringing worldwide content directly to their doorsteps," said Alessandro Talotta, TI Sparkle's CEO.
Telecom Italia (TIM)was reported to have placed 11,500 of its mobile-phone towers under the ownership of Inwit, an infrastructure subsidiary it plans to list before the summer. The operator hopes the listing will raise as much as €1 billion ($1.08 billion), which could then be used to slash debts and support investment activities.
M&A plans -- will Interoute be a target? Interoute has slowly been building as a commpany and has really found its niche -- a simple network that is ideal for the increasingly deamnding needs of cloud service providers and users.
Quite frankly I am gobsmacked that a telco has not acquired this company to accelerate its own cloud strategy.