Euronews: Belgacom CEO for the High Jump

Also in today's EMEA roundup: Paulson feeds AT&T/Vodafone rumor mill; Iliad still growing; SFR shrinking.

  • Belgacom SA (Euronext: BELG)'s CEO Didier Bellens is set to receive his marching orders today from the Belgian government, according to reports in four Belgian newspapers cited by Reuters. The government is the operator's majority shareholder, and it seems those in the corridors of power have become increasingly irritated by Bellens' criticism of Belgium's federal and regional authorities. This will bring further instability for Belgacom, which is already mired in controversy over data-spying allegations that surfaced in September. (See Euronews: Who Hacked Belgacom?)

  • More grist has been added to the rumor mill surrounding the possible takeover of Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) by AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) courtesy of hedge fund boss John Paulson, who has increased his firm's stake in Vodafone to $703.6 million, reports Bloomberg. Paulson has already made money this year from the takeovers of MetroPCS and Sprint, so he knows his onions. (See Euronews: Vodafone Shares up on AT&T Takeover Rumor.)

  • Iliad (Euronext: ILD), the mobile disruptor extraordinaire, has posted a 15 percent year-on-year rise in third-quarter sales, to €944.2 million (US$1.26 billion). The operator, which uses the Free Mobile brand, added 640,000 new mobile subscribers during the quarter, bringing its total to 7.4 million, though it has 5.6 million landline broadband subscribers too. For more detail on Iliad's third quarter, see this press release. Earlier this week, rival Bouygues Telecom reported a 13 percent year-on-year decline in revenues for the first nine months of the year to €3.5 billion ($4.7 billion). (See Free Disrupts French Mobile Market.)

  • Another player in the French mobile market, Vivendi 's SFR , posted a 10 percent year-on-year slump in overall revenues in the first nine months of the 2013 to €7.61 billion ($10.23 billion), though specifically mobile revenues were down 16.5 percent to €4.75 billion ($6.38 billion). Little wonder, then, that Vivendi is pressing ahead with its plan to hive off the ailing unit next year, as Reuters reports. (See Euronews: SFR Drags Vivendi Down.)

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

  • DOShea 11/16/2013 | 4:52:52 PM
    AT&T-Vodafone I just love these will-they-or-won't-they storylines--keeps me tuning in week after week.
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