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Eurobites: Openreach CEO to Step Down

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Ericsson denies Cisco M&A rumors; Vivendi wants bodies on Telecom Italia board; Yandex takes Google case to EU.

  • The CEO of BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA)'s infrastructure division, Openreach , is to step down to take up a role in the financial services industry in spring 2016. Joe Garner has headed up Openreach since February 2014, overseeing BT's rollout of fiber broadband in the UK. No successor has yet been named. In recent months, calls for Openreach to be fully spun off from BT have grown louder from the carrier's rivals, some of whom have long believed that BT holds an unfair advantage in the broadband market through its control of the local network. (See Eurobites: Rivals Sharpen Knives Over BT Broadband and Ofcom Could Still Make BT Do Splits.)

  • Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) has felt the need to deny "market rumors" that it might be the subject of a merger with, or takeover by, Cisco. In a statement, the Swedish vendor, which last week announced a game-changing partnership with Cisco, said: "The talks leading up to the partnership announcement have been ongoing for a year and there have not been any discussions whatsoever on a merger or an acquisition." (See Cisco + Ericsson: From Soup to Nuts.)

  • Ericsson has also signed a five-year deal with Qatar's Ooredoo . The agreement includes 2G, 3G and 4G radio equipment and indoor small cells solutions, as well as mobile soft switching, Evolved Packet Core and Mini-Link microwave transmission equipment

  • Vivendi , the French media conglomerate, wants to appoint four representatives to the board of Telecom Italia (TIM) , reports Reuters. Vivendi, which sold its mobile unit SFR to Altice last year, owns slightly more than 20% of the Italian incumbent.

  • Yandex LLC , which owns Russia's largest search engine, has built on its recent antitrust victory over Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) in Russia by taking its case against its larger rival to the European Union, reports Bloomberg. Yandex wants to unbundle Google services from Android phones. Google is already under scrutiny from the EU for allegedly abusing its dominant position in search by unfairly promoting its own services above those of others in its search results listings.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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