Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Telefónica invests in mobile OS startup; Deutsche Telekom opens 5G lab; Amazon Fire TV Sticks it to Europe.
Two months of due diligence has been completed and the deal is ready to roll: That's the latest word on Hutchison Whampoa Ltd. (Hong Kong: 0013; Pink Sheets: HUWHY)'s plans to create the UK's biggest mobile operator by acquiring Telefónica UK Ltd. (O2) for ₤10.5 billion (US$15.6 billion) and merging it with Three UK , according to the Financial Times. Citing "a personal familiar with the situation," the report adds that the deal is expected to be confirmed early this week. If the deal does go ahead, it will be the latest in a string of acquisitions by Hutchison Chairman Li Ka-shing, who also has designs on Italy's Wind Telecomunicazioni SpA . (See Hutchison's Wind of Change and Hutchison Offers $13.9B for UK's O2.)
In other Telefónica-related news, the Spanish giant is one of a group investing in Cyanogen, a mobile operating system specialist that has just completed an $80 million round of Series C financing. Others demonstrating their faith in the Cyanogen cause include Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM), Twitter Ventures and Rupert Murdoch.
Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT) is in da Haus! The 5G:haus, that is. The German giant has launched a 5G innovation lab within which it hopes to work with a range of partners to develop the technology from a "holistic, customer-oriented perspective," it says here. (See Deutsche Telekom Opens 5G:haus.)
Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) is launching its Fire TV Stick -- a dongle that plugs into a standard TV's HDMI slot and enables viewers to access various catch-up and on-demand services -- in Austria, Germany and the UK. The Stick's main attraction for many will be the big-screen access it offers to the Amazon Prime Instant Video OTT streaming service, which is included "free" for those signing up to the Prime priority delivery service. The Fire TV Stick will retail for €39 ($43) in Austria and Germany, and for ₤35 ($52) in the UK.
Deutsche Telekom subsidiary T-Mobile Polska has appointed a new CEO: Adam Sawicki takes over the reins on June 1, replacing Zacharias Piperidis, who held the position on an interim basis. Sawicki was previously CEO of GTS Central Europe, which is also owned by Deutsche Telekom.
The Swiss Competition Commission has approved the merger of Swisscom Directories Ltd (local.ch) and search.ch AG, clearing the way to what Swisscom AG (NYSE: SCM) hopes will be a "strong Swiss alternative" to the likes of Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) and Yahoo Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO).
— Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading