Eurobites: Private equity rivals consider joint bid for TIM – sources

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Proximus helps out with electric vehicle charging; Tele2 connects the electric road; BT moves into new global HQ.

  • Private equity firm CVC Capital Partners has entered the Telecom Italia (TIM) takeover fray, according to a Bloomberg report. The report, citing those mysterious "people with knowledge of the matter," says that CVC and private equity rival KKR are considering a joint bid for the Italian incumbent, which has come under pressure from major stakeholder Vivendi in recent weeks for what is perceived by the French company as poor performance. Earlier this week KKR put in its own $12.2 billion bid for TIM, a bid that Vivendi dismissed as too low. (See Telecom Italia faces $12.2B privatization bid from KKR.)

  • Belgian operator Proximus has embarked on a four-month pilot project in the city of Mechelen that will allow Proximus' street cabinets to serve as additional charging points for electric vehicles. Over the next four months, Proximus, with support from Fluvius, will connect eight charging poles for electric vehicles to street cabinets; two vehicles will be able to charge simultaneously from each pole. If the pilot proves successful, Proximus reckons another 3,500 of its street cabinets could be used in this way.

  • In related territory, Sweden's Tele2 is providing IoT connectivity for Elonroad, a company that has developed an "electric road" that can charge electric vehicles as they drive along it. The electric road system centers on a rail that is installed directly onto the asphalt, and needs to be connected to the Internet so that the system can be controlled and payments from its users can be taken.

  • BT has opened its new global headquarters, One Braham, in the central London district of Aldgate. The operator says the swanky new office block will eventually be home to around 3,500 employees, though a commitment to "smart working," where individual teams decide how to co-workers divide their time between working at home or at the office, seems likely to leave plenty of "hot desks" available for use in the near term as the pandemic limps on. BT has made an effort to integrate the office block with the local community: The building has a ground-floor space which will be used for community projects, and a café which is open to the public.

  • When it comes to broadband, UK businesses have itchy feet. That's one of the main conclusions of a study commissioned by Sky Connect, which found that 51% of UK small businesses are likely to leave their current business broadband provider, with bad customer service, slow upload/download speeds and unreliability of connection all being cited as reasons why they might flounce out of their existing broadband service. Also, nearly three-quarter of small businesses surveyed said they would be more likely to recommend a business broadband provider to someone else if it offered a 4G or 5G backup.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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