Euronews: AT&T Hints at Mobile M&A Action

Also in today's EMEA roundup: Kabel Deutschland abandons bid to acquire rival; Elop's payoff atypical, admits Nokia chairman; Ericsson wins in Bahrain.

  • AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) CEO Randall Stephenson may have set a few industry folk a-twitching on Tuesday when he said that the US giant would buy mobile assets in Europe if there were "value opportunities" to be had, reports Reuters. Speculation about AT&T's European ambitions resurfaces regularly, with rumors about it having designs on Telefónica SA (NYSE: TEF) being a recent example. (See Euronews: AT&T Goes on the Prowl and Euronews: Did AT&T Prep Telefónica Bid?)

  • Kabel Deutschland GmbH , which is in the process of being acquired by Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD), has abandoned its bid for rival German cable operator Tele Columbus AG , reports Bloomberg. Antitrust authorities had blocked the bid back in February, and it seems, in the light of the Vodafone takeover, Kabel Deutschland management no longer has the stomach for a drawn-out legal case. (See Euronews: Vodafone Clears Hurdle to Kabel Bid.)

  • Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK)'s chairman, Risto Siilasmaa, has admitted that he misled people when he said that former CEO Stephen Elop's $25 million payoff was typical of the way contracts of Nokia high-level executives were set out, reports the BBC, citing Finland's Helsingin Sanomat newspaper. Several leading Finnish politicians have already weighed in on what they perceive as the injustice of handing such a sum to Elop, who is going straight to Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) once its acquisition of Nokia's Devices & Services business goes through. (See Euronews: Anger Grows at Nokia Payoff for Elop, Elop's Advice, Euronews: Elop Pockets $25M Payoff, and The Nokia/Microsoft Conspiracy Theory.)

  • Bahrain Telecommunications Co. (Batelco) has chosen Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) as the sole supplier for its LTE and WCDMA expansion plans. The Swedish vendor will install LTE base stations in new, as yet uncovered, areas and upgrade Batelco's Evolved Packet Core (EPC).

  • Batelco is one of three operators who have been awarded spectrum in Bahrain's 4G auction, the other two being Zain Bahrain and Saudi Telecom Co. (STC) 's Viva Bahrain. As Reuters reports, the regulator scrapped an earlier auction that could have allowed new players to enter the market.

  • Orange Business Services has launched its NFC Service Center, which it describes as a "virtualization solution" for French banks, companies, and public sector organizations that wish to exploit NFC technology to accept mobile-based payments. See this press release for more details.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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