Euronews: Vodafone in M&A Rumor Frenzy

Also in today's EMEA roundup: EE has more than a million 4G subscribers; AlcaLu does 3G femtocells in Germany; Sawiris's nose out of joint; Nokia draws on Microsoft funding.

  • Now that Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) has agreed to sell its 45 percent stake in Verizon Wireless , rumors about what it plans to do with the resulting cash are starting to swirl. The latest, courtesy of the This is Money website, suggests that Vodafone is considering a "£6 billion swoop" on Morocco's Maroc Telecom , while France's SFR is also mentioned as a possible takeover target. Such rumors could keep Euronews going for months. Separately, Vodafone's attempt to buy cable operator Kabel Deutschland GmbH may be running into the sand, according to Reuters, with insufficient shareholders accepting the tender offer. Meanwhile, the rumor mill also suggests Vodafone might line up a bid for cable giant Liberty Global Inc. (Nasdaq: LBTY). Phew! (See Vodafone Agrees to $130B Verizon Stake Sale, Vodafone: Eat or Be Eaten? and Euronews: Vodafone Strikes €7.7B Kabel Deal.)

  • EE , the UK mobile joint venture between Orange UK and T-Mobile (UK) , has told the Financial Times that it has reached 1 million 4G subscribers well ahead of its Christmas deadline. Perhaps those wacky ads starring Kevin Bacon were more effective than they looked. EE has also been chosen by Asda, the UK supermarket giant owned by Wal-Mart, as its MVNO partner. EE already provides mobile services to Asda "colleagues," or "employees," as normal people call them. (See Euronews: EE Sees 4G Take-up Double in Q2 and EE Shares 4G Lessons Learned.)

  • Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) is to deploy 3G femtocells for Telefónica Deutschland GmbH to help improve mobile broadband access and quality. The program is mainly targeting enterprises, where mobiles are increasingly being used by office workers instead of landlines.

  • It sounds like Egypt's Naguib Sawiris might take his ball and go home rather than submitting a bid for a significant stake in Telecom Italia (TIM) , according to Arabian Business, citing Reuters. The telecom tycoon is peeved that Telecom Italia has allegedly expressed a preference for a bid from Telefónica over one from him.

  • Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) has decided to draw down all of the €1.5 billion (US$1.9 billion) of financing provided by Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) as part of last week's agreed sale of Nokia's Devices & Services unit to the US software giant. The funding is in the form of convertible bonds. (See Nokia to Sell Devices & Services Biz to Microsoft and The Nokia/Microsoft Conspiracy Theory.)

  • KPN Telecom NV (NYSE: KPN) 's CFO, Eric Hageman, is to step down with immediate effect, the company has announced. KPN maintains that the move is due to "personal circumstances" and is not related to the "present circumstances at KPN," which see the operator as the subject of a takeover bid from Mexico's América Móvil S.A. de C.V. . (See Euronews: KPN Foundation Blocks Slim's Bid and Euronews: Slim Says KPN Cash Is in Place.)

  • Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) has given European Union regulators a new set of proposals in a bid to settle a long-running antitrust probe into the way Google runs its search services, reports Bloomberg. EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said that the proposals will be examined and that if they prove satisfactory an "agreed solution" might be possible in the coming months.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

  • PaulERainford 9/9/2013 | 7:37:10 AM
    Bacon and cheese Kevin Bacon shouldn't be wasting his talents on self-consciously ironic ads for mobile operators - he should be working on pulling the next 'Tremors' out of the bag. Everybody up on the roof now!!!
    [email protected] 9/9/2013 | 7:21:27 AM
    The list of targets will be long.... Once we get to october it mihgt be easier to list the companies that have NOT been identified as Vodafone takeover targets.....


    If VOD does run into problems with its Kabel bid, that could lead to some interesting cable sector alternatives. 
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