Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Vodafone/Liberty chatter ratchets up a notch; Tele2's Q1 earnings rise 7%; Sky sells stake in gaming business; "Fitbit for cars" company wins funding.
Community Fibre, a London-based Internet service provider, has secured £25 million (US$35 million) in new financing led by the National Digital Infrastructure Fund (NDIF), to roll out full-fiber connectivity to an additional 100,000 homes in the capital by 2022. NDIF is a government-supported commercial fund established in 2017 by Amber Infrastructure Group to invest in digital infrastructure in the UK. Also investing in the rollout is RPMI Railpen, one of the UK's largest pension funds -- it is putting £7 million ($9.7 million) into the project, adding to the NDIF's £18 million ($25.1 million). According to ISP Preview, Community Fibre expects to have extended its gigabit-capable network to around 60,000 homes in London by the end of 2018, with the bulk of that focused on council-owned or social housing.
There's been talk over the weekend, in the pages of the Financial Times (subscription required), that the much anticipated takeover of Liberty Global Inc. (Nasdaq: LBTY)'s cable assets in Germany by Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) could be agreed within the next two weeks, in a deal worth as much as €16.5 billion ($20.2 billion). Back in February Vodafone confirmed that it was in talks relating to the acquisition of certain Liberty Global European assets but ruled out a "mega-merger" of the two companies. (See Vodafone in Talks to Acquire Liberty Global Assets.)
Net sales at Tele2 AB (Nasdaq: TLTO) grew 5% year-on-year in the first quarter to 6.22 billion Swedish kronor ($733 million), while EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) was up 7% to SEK1.62 billion ($191 million). Growth in Kazakhstan and Croatia helped drive mobile service revenue, though Swedish revenue was hit by currency movements. Tele2 is currently in the process of acquiring cable operator Com Hem in a deal expected to close in the second half of 2018 and valued at around $3.3 billion. (See Sweden's Tele2 to Swallow Com Hem in $3.3B Deal.)
Sky , the UK-based satellite TV broadcaster, has sold its 20% stake in online gaming business Sky Betting & Gaming (SBG) to The Stars Group, a Canadian company. The deal follows the initial sale of Sky's majority stake in SBG to CVC Capital Partners in 2015, with the two sales taken together raising around £1.2 billion.
Lightfoot, a UK company that describes itself as a "Fitbit for cars," has landed a £1 million ($1.4 million) loan from a government-backed innovation scheme to help it move into the consumer market, the Daily Telegraph reports. Lightfoot's technology uses a device connected to their car's onboard diagnostic port to measure how efficiently motorists are driving, rewarding the most efficient drivers with goodies such as insurance discounts and free coffee.
A study commissioned by UK altnet CityFibre has reached the not altogether surprising conclusion that copper isn't good for the planet. The study, conducted on behalf of CityFibre by a firm of "sustainability consultants," found that the adoption of "greener" technological developments such as homeworking and tele-healthcare is being impeded in the UK by an over-reliance on a legacy copper-based infrastructure, which, says the study, cannot cope with the ever-increasing amounts of data being generated. Copper is also "significantly more carbon intensive" than fiber "at all stages of its lifecyle," according to CityFibre, including extraction, manufacture and during network operations.