Also in today's EMEA roundup: Orange feels the squeeze; Transmode makes hay in Europe; Pace buys Aurora.
The new, soon-to-be slimline Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) has received a vote of confidence from billionaire hedge fund manager Daniel Loeb, who has revealed that he has taken a stake in the company, reports Reuters. He also went against the recent grain of opinion by praising the company's top brass. (See Nokia Sells Devices Business to Microsoft .)
Orange (NYSE: FTE)'s latest set of results won't get many investors' juices flowing: Revenues of €10.16 billion (US$14.55 billion) were down 4 percent overall year-on-year, though Belgium was a particular black spot, down 10.1 percent. On a brighter note, Orange's French unit did report 298,000 net additions in terms of mobile packages, its best performance in three years. (See Orange Feels the Squeeze in Q3 .)
The news is better at Sweden's Transmode Systems AB , where third-quarter sales increased 7 percent year-on-year to 272 million Swedish kroner ($43 million), and net profits rose from SEK38 million ($5.9 million) to SEK40.1 million ($6.2 million). In a statement accompanying the results, CEO Karl Thedéen said that demand from European customers for its packet-optical networking products was strong, though the picture was less rosy in the Americas. (See Transmode Reports Q3 Gains.)
Pace plc , the British set-top box firm, has acquired Aurora Networks Inc. for $323 million, increasing its clout in the US cable market. The Yorkshire-based firm is already the number-three supplier of set-top boxes to the US cable industry after Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) and Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS), providing, amongst other things, next-generation hybrid IP video gateways for Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK). (See Aurora Swims Upstream.)
Telenor Group (Nasdaq: TELN)'s Swedish unit is moving further into broadband with the acquisition of Tele2 AB (Nasdaq: TLTO)'s fiber and cable business for SEK775 million ($121 million). The acquisition adds around 370,000 households connected to fiber and cable to Telenor Sweden's books, of which 125,000 are fixed broadband customers, 75,000 are digital TV customers and approximately 220,000 are cable subscribers. (See Telenor Buys Tele2's Swedish Fiber & Cable Business.)
UK regulator Ofcom is clamping down on the mobile operators' nasty habit of hiking the price of "fixed" contracts mid-term. It has mandated that consumers and small businesses should be allowed to exit their landline, broadband, or mobile contract without penalty if their provider increases the cost of their monthly deal.
— Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading