Also in today's EMEA roundup: Vodafone gets EC approval for Kabel Deutschland bid; UK spooks implicated in Belgacom hacking; Telecom Italia considers towers sale.
Anger is growing in Finland at the $25 million payoff former Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) CEO Stephen Elop will receive if the proposed sale of its Devices & Services business to Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) goes through. According to the Financial Times, Finland's prime minister, Jyrki Katainen, called the payoff "quite outrageous," while his finance minister, Jutta Urpilainen, chipped in with: "In addition to the general toxic atmosphere, it may be a threat to social harmony." News that Elop's original contract was amended so that he could return to Microsoft will probably only add fuel to the flames. (See Euronews: Elop Pockets $25M Payoff and The Nokia/Microsoft Conspiracy Theory.)
Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) has been given the green light from the European Commission for its proposed €7.7 billion ($10.43 billion) takeover of Kabel Deutschland GmbH , reports Reuters. "The Commission's investigation confirmed that the activities of the merging parties were mainly complementary," concluded the regulatory muscles in Brussels, in a statement. (See Euronews: Vodafone Clears Hurdle to Kabel Bid and Euronews: Vodafone Strikes €7.7B Kabel Deal.)
It seems the answer to our question from last week,
Who Hacked Belgacom?, is the UK's GCHQ intelligence agency, according to Reuters, citing a report in Der Spiegel. Documents, including slides from GCHQ that purportedly showed how the agency was looking to "enable better exploitation of Belgacom," were supplied to the magazine by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, said the magazine. (See British Spooks Tap the Global Net.)
Debt-laden Telecom Italia (TIM) , which has in recent weeks been reconsidering its long-term strategy, is now considering a sale of its mobile towers business, reports Bloomberg. One analyst, however, described the proposed move as "too little too late."
BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) has announced the remuneration package for its new CEO, Gavin Patterson, who is replacing Ian Livingston. Patterson will receive the same base salary as his predecessor -- £925,000 (US$1.48 million). The Guardian, meanwhile, reports that Livingston, who is leaving to become a trade minister in the UK government, will receive almost £9 million ($14.4 million) in bonuses as a leaving present from BT. Not quite in the Stephen Elop league, but it shouldn't leave him short this Christmas. (See Euronews: BT Sets Date for CEO Handover and BT Appoints New CEO.)
— Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading