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Euronews: Bidding War for Maroc Telecom Stake

Etisalat, Maroc Telecom, France Télécom – Orange and Ericsson AB are among the movers 'n' shakers in today's lineup of EMEA headlines.
  • A bidding war is hotting up nicely for Vivendi's 53 percent stake in Morocco's Maroc Telecom, reports Reuters, with Etisalat saying it will make a US$6 billion binding offer in the face of keen interest from another of the Middle East's ambitious telcos, Qatar's Ooredoo (formerly Qatar Telecom QSC (Qtel)). Morocco's government still owns a 30 percent stake in Maroc Telecom, which could complicate matters. (See Pyramid: Three's a Crowd in Morocco.)
  • France Telecom's domestic struggles continue to drag down its numbers, with mobile service revenues on its home turf slipping 2.9 percent year-on-year and overall EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) down 4.1 percent year-on-year to €3.12 billion ($4.06 billion). (See Euronews: Iliad's Clogging Our Network, Says FT.)
  • At Ericsson, margins and profits took a hammering in the first quarter, with net income down 86 percent year-on-year to 1.2 billion Swedish kronor ($182 million). Revenues, however, are up slightly at SEK52 billion ($7.87 billion) and the management is still confident of a recovery in profits before the year's end. (See Euronews: Ericsson Accentuates the Positive.)
  • U.K. regulator Ofcom is considering a different, more flexible approach to spectrum distribution, according to a Reuters report. Ofcom's CEO, Ed Richards, said that measures could include operators owning specific bits of spectrum for shorter periods as new data needs emerge, rather than bagging big chunks of spectrum for years at a time. (See UK 4G Auction Falls Short.)
  • The U.K.'s Virgin Media Inc., which is in the process of being swallowed by Liberty Global Inc., saw first-quarter revenues rise 3.6 percent year-on-year to £1.04 billion ($1.58 billion). Net income was also up, to £139 million ($212 million). Virgin's TiVo Inc.-powered TV service continues to perform well, and now accounts for 40 percent of all its TV subscriptions. (See Liberty Global Gets Go-Ahead for Virgin Takeover.)
  • Telefónica SA is to sell the Samsung Corp. Galaxy S4 smartphone across Europe and Latin America, the two companies announced Wednesday morning. (See Samsung Galaxy S4: Gesturing at the Future.) — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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