Euronews: Vodafone, Verizon Near Mega-Deal

Also in today's EMEA roundup: Free Mobile profits up massively; UAE operators suspend services; new CEO for Zain Saudi; NEC small-cell success in Russia.

  • Reports on Bloomberg and elsewhere suggest that the deal to sell Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD)'s 45 percent stake in Verizon Wireless to Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) for $130 billion will probably be signed and sealed Monday. Despite the size of the deal, Robert Peston, the BBC's business editor, said that Vodafone would pay no UK tax on the transaction, which will be more grist to the mill for those disgruntled with Vodafone's tax-paying record. (See Verizon in Talks to Take Vodafone Stake in Big Red and Euronews: VOD Rises on Verizon Buyout Chat.)

  • Iliad (Euronext: ILD), the cut-price French mobile operator that has pinched swathes of market share from its more established rivals with its Free Mobile brand, has underlined its success with its first-half financials. Profits were up 78.1 percent year-on-year at €141.8 million (US$187.4 million), while mobile subscriber numbers grew by more than than 1.5 million to reach nearly 6.8 million. (See Free Disrupts French Mobile Market and Iliad Disrupts the French Mobile Scene.)

  • UAE operators Etisalat and Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Co. (du) have had to suspend the services of nearly 3 million mobile customers for failing to update their personal information, reports Arabian Business. The move comes at the behest of the country's telecom regulator, which has been running a "My Number, My Identity" campaign to help the authorities keep tabs on its citizens' communications.

  • Still in the Middle East, Zain KSA (Zain Saudi Arabia) has appointed a new CEO in the shape of Hassan Kabbani, reports Reuters. Kabbani replaces Fraser Curley, who has resigned for personal reasons.

  • Good news for data-hungry bobsleigh riders: Russian mobile firm Scartel, which operates under the Yota brand, is to deploy NEC Corp. (Tokyo: 6701)'s LTE small-cell basestations in several of its major urban areas, including Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Krasnodar and Sochi -- the latter being the venue for the 2014 Winter Olympics.

  • Music and film companies are asking UK broadband providers to create a blacklist of subscribers who are illegally downloading content, reports The Guardian. Data collected by UK regulator Ofcom says that 18 percent of Internet users aged 12 and over have recently pirated content. Well, come on, kids have always loved the pirates thing, right?

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

  • Sarah Thomas 9/2/2013 | 5:24:07 PM
    Re: Content piracy ahoy! Woah, I imagine that would be quite a long list. What's the punishment for piracy in the UK these days? 

    A friend downloaded a service for me a few years ago that I didn't realize was not necessarily legal music downloading, until I noticed that all my tunes said "Musical freedom; don't steal this sh*t" at some point in them...
    PaulERainford 9/2/2013 | 11:09:31 AM
    Re: Content piracy ahoy! No, those bellowing Shakespearian thesps have ruined music for me. All right, I've humiliated myself again. I'll get my coat.
    [email protected] 9/2/2013 | 11:07:46 AM
    Re: Content piracy ahoy! Simon Cowell perhaps? Poor old Simon callow might be a bit worried about being dragged into this debate...
    PaulERainford 9/2/2013 | 10:08:09 AM
    Content piracy ahoy! I'm old enough to remember when cassette shenanigans were the subject of a 'Home Taping is Killing Music' campaign. It didn't. Simon Callow might though.
    [email protected] 9/2/2013 | 8:38:01 AM
    Is Verizon Wireless the best asset to sell? Vodafone has lots of holdings -- if it needs cash to placate investors and fund its fixed line/cable acquisition activities, is the VZON Wireless stake really the asset to sell? 
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