Eurobites: Altice Set to Sell Stake in Portuguese Cable Unit

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Sunrise in talks to buy Liberty Global's Swiss unit; VEON's new strategy man; more UK trouble in store for Huawei; Nokia takes its Gfast to Japan.

  • Altice , the France-based provider of broadband and more, has set the wheels in motion for a sale of a stake in its Portuguese high-speed fiber business. According to Reuters, the company is hoping for a repeat of an earlier deal, in which it sold a 49.99% stake in its SFR business to three investment funds for €1.8 billion (US$2.06 billion).

  • And, just across the Alps, Sunrise Communications AG is in "advanced talks" to buy UPC, Liberty Global Inc. (Nasdaq: LBTY)'s cable operation in Switzerland, the FT reports (subscription required).

  • VEON has named former investment banker Alex Kazbegi its chief strategy officer just weeks after confirming plans to scrap its digital platform, a decision that will trigger the loss of about 200 jobs and the closure of its London office. With headquarters in Amsterdam, and operations in Russia and various emerging markets, VEON has turned for strategy expertise to a man who was highly critical of its digital investments in 2018. "All the money spent before has gone nowhere," he said when contacted by Light Reading shortly after VEON had sold its 50% stake in Italy's Wind Tre. "They are very lucky to have sold Italy and are now mostly cost cutting, focusing on core emerging and frontier markets and paying a decent dividend." Kazbegi will sit on VEON's executive committee and report directly to CEO Ursula Burns while he comes up with new ideas for growth and business development opportunities, said the operator in a statement. (See VEON to Close London Office, Cut Jobs After Digital Disaster.)

  • Is Huawei about to get a fresh helping of security-related pain? Probably, if a Daily Telegraph report is anything to go by. According to the Telegraph, a forthcoming report from the UK government-backed Huawei Cyber Security Evaluation Centre will say that the Chinese vendor has not dealt with issues raised in earlier reports and will lay into the the security of Huawei's technology. UK incumbent operator BT has already said that Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd faces exclusion from certain parts of its network development plans, while British universities have been instructed not to accept any more money or other investments from the company. (See Where Huawei Fears to Tread, Eurobites: Do Look a Huawei Gift Horse in the Mouth, UK Universities Told and Huawei Cut Out of BT's Mobile Core, Optical & Edge Plans.)

  • Japan's KDDI Corp. has turned to Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK)'s Gfast technology to bring "ultra-broadband" services over existing copper lines to some of its customers. Gfast, which uses so-called "vectoring" technology, is particularly suited to bringing decent broadband speeds to those living in apartments and multi-dwelling units, or MDUs.

  • Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) has completed the sale of its MediaKind video processing arm to One Equity Partners, though the Swedish vendor will retain a 49% stake in the company. The deal will generate a "positive impact on operating income" in Q1 2019 of between 0.4 and 0.6 billion Swedish kronor ($40-60 million), says Ericsson.

  • Orange Digital Ventures has joined the $11 billion Series B funding round for Aire, a fintech company that is setting out to use machine learning to address the problem of individuals being held back by what are often seen as unfair credit ratings.

  • Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT) has developed a new integrated SIM aimed at low-cost devices with long lifespans in IoT networks, such as sensors and asset trackers. Called nuSIM, the product moves the SIM functionality from the physical SIM card directly to the chipset of the device.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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