Eurobites: Altice Bids $8.8B for Portugal Telecom

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Europe leads in WiFi, but not for much longer; Nigerian towers group raises $2.6 billion; Telecom Egypt starts engine on Vodafone stake sale.

  • Confirming rumors that surfaced in early October, Altice, the French group that owns cable operator Numericable-SFR and is in the process of acquiring SFR , has put in a €7 billion (US$8.8 billion) bid for Portugal Telecom SGPS SA (NYSE: PT), Bloomberg reports. If successful, the deal would put an end to the merger of Portugal Telecom and Oi, the Brazilian operator. (See Eurobites: Altice Eyes Portugal Telecom Bid and Euronews: Portugal Telecom Agrees Oi Merger.)

  • A survey by US WiFi specialist iPass Inc. (Nasdaq: IPAS) has found that Europe leads the world when it comes to WiFi, with France top of the list in terms of the number of WiFi hotspots. However, this is all set to change by 2018, says the survey, by which time the US will be number one and China number two. A WiFi growth map drills down into the numbers, showing, among other things, where the hotspots are located.

  • IHS, the Nigerian tower group, has raised $2 billion in equity and $600 million in debt in what is one of the biggest ever deals of its kind in Africa, Reuters reports. It plans to use to the money to fund infrastructure spending and on recently agreed acquisitions. Maintaining mobile towers in Africa can be a fraught and expensive business, which is bad news for mobile operators but good news for the likes of IHS, who take over the headache of looking after them.

  • Telecom Egypt is moving ahead with the planned sale of its 45% stake in Vodafone Egypt , Bloomberg reports, sending out requests for proposals to various banks interested in getting a piece of the sale action. The Egyptian government, which owns the majority stake in Telecom Egypt, announced in September that the incumbent would sell its stake in Vodafone Egypt by the end of 2015.

  • Telecom Italia Sparkle has launched a wholesale cloud services offer, YourCloudStore. (See TI Sparkle Takes YourCloudStore Global.)

  • Virgin Media Inc. (Nasdaq: VMED) has added another six stations to its WiFi service on the London Underground train network, bringing the number of stations covered to 150. More than 2.5 million devices are now registered on the service.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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