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Euronews: Ericsson Sets Lawyers on Samsung

Paul Rainford
11/27/2012

Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC), Samsung Corp. , BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA), Tech Mahindra Ltd. , Telecom Italia (TIM) and Interoute Communications Ltd. set the tone for today's canter through the EMEA headlines.

  • The mass bar-room brawl in intellectual property litigation continues with Ericsson suing Samsung over its refusal to renew a patent license agreement on so-called FRAND (fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory) terms, following two years of negotiations. The lawsuit is being filed in Texas, where Ericsson has its U.S. headquarters. (See Ericsson Sues Samsung, Euronews: Ericsson Eyes Patents Cash Cow, Euronews: EC Probes Samsung on Patents, EC Hints at Smartphone Patent Probe and Ericsson Puts Focus on IPR Licensing.)

  • BT looks set to sell its remaining 9.1 percent stake in Tech Mahindra in the coming weeks, according to a report in The Economic Times. BT, which is Tech Mahindra's largest single customer, reduced its holding in the Indian Service Provider Information Technology (SPIT) specialist by 14.1 percent in late August and said at the time that further sales would be considered. (See Euronews: BT Banks £159M From Stake Sale.)

  • Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris is looking to get his hands on Telecom Italia via a US$3.9 billion cash infusion, according to a Reuters report. If successful in his bid for control, he would look to expand Telecom Italia's interests in Brazil, the report adds. Sawiris used to own Wind Telecomunicazioni SpA , Italy's third-largest mobile operator.

  • Meanwhile, back at the coalface, Telecom Italia is to deploy Gemalto 's MFS contactless payments software as the backbone of its "mobile wallet" launch. (See Telecom Italia Deploys Gemalto.)

  • Pan-European network operator Interoute is to boost its presence in Northern Europe with the acquisition of Comendo Network, a subsidiary of Danish IT company Comendo. The deal is valued at up to €7 million ($9 million), with Interoute paying €4.5 million ($5.8 million) in cash initially and up to €2.5 million ($3.2 million) more, depending on the performance of the business during the next year or so.

  • In Kenya, Safaricom Ltd. 's customers can now gain access to small loans and sign up to a phone-based interest-bearing savings account through a service called M-Shwari. This is a development of the M-Pesa system and is the result of a collaboration between Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD), Safaricom and the Commercial Bank of Africa (CBA). (See Safaricom Launches Mobile Loans, Pyramid Predicts Mobile Money Boom in Africa and Vodafone Expands M-Pesa Mobile Money Service.)
  • NTC Holding, the largest shareholder in TDC A/S (Copenhagen: TDC), is selling a 10 percent stake in the national Danish operator, reports Marketwatch. Following the divestment, NTC will be left with a 33 percent stake in TDC.

  • It seems MegaFon 's imminent initial public offering (IPO) in London will be a soaraway success, with Reuters reporting that the over-subscribed order book will close at 2 p.m. GMT on Tuesday.

  • France is the latest country to peer more closely into the tax arrangements of Google (Nasdaq: GOOG), Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) and others, reports Bloomberg. The government there is considering tweaking the tax laws next year to prevent it missing out on much-needed revenues.

  • As predicted in these pages earlier this month, the BBC reports that YouView TV Ltd. , the company behind a much-trumpeted TV catch-up service backed by the BBC and others, has been sued for trademark infringement by Total, a little-known U.K. telco that had previously registered the name "YourView."

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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