Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Hutchison Whampoa lines up investors for O2 takeover; Ericsson files suits against Apple; mixed fortunes for Liberty Global.
The company behind Uber, the taxi-hailing app that traditional taxi drivers love to hate, has reportedly put in a $3 billion bid for HERE, Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK)'s mapping business, according to a report in the New York Times. The bid is thought to be competing with one from a consortium of German car makers in cahoots with Chinese search engine Baidu and another from a private equity firm. (See Eurobites: Nokia May Hang On to HERE and Eurobites: Nokia's HERE Locates Potential Buyers.)
Hutchison Whampoa Ltd. (Hong Kong: 0013; Pink Sheets: HUWHY) owner Li Ka-shing has lined up five investors to help fund his British unit's planned takeover of Telefónica UK Ltd. (O2), reports The Guardian. Singapore's GIC and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board have said they will put in £1.1 billion ($1.69 billion) each into the deal, while the others taking an undisclosed slice of the one-third stake are the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, Brazilian investment bank Grupo BTG Pactual and Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec. (See Telefónica Seals $15.2B O2 Sale to Hutchison.)
Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) has filed patent suits against Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) in Germany, the UK and the Netherlands, maintaining that the US giant "continues to sell products, for which its licenses have expired, on a global scale." Ericsson says it has been trying to reach an agreement on patents with Apple for more than two years on terms that are fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND), but it seems its patience has snapped. (See Ericsson Takes Legal Action Against Apple and Eurobites: Ericsson Bites Apple Over Patents.)
Liberty Global Inc. (Nasdaq: LBTY) may have seen first-quarter revenue grow 3% year-on-year worldwide, but it had mixed fortunes in terms of subscriber numbers in Western Europe, adding 29,000 in Germany but only 19,000 net in Western Europe as a whole. Liberty had a particularly rough time in the Netherlands, where it shed 47,000 subscribers, most of them in the former Ziggo footprint. (It acquired Ziggo last year for $11.2 billion.) In its results statement, the company said: "In the Netherlands, the landscape remains competitive and in the former Ziggo footprint we experienced lower sales and higher churn associated with the network and product harmonization that we completed in March."
Norway-based Telenor Group (Nasdaq: TELN) is in talks that could see its Indian subsidiary Uninor buy a majority stake in mobile operator Videocon Telecom, reports the Indian Times. A sticking point, however, could be a 5 billion Indian rupees ($78 million) debt that Videocon owes the government.
Belgacom SA (Euronext: BELG), which now trades under the Proximus brand, saw core profits rise 5% year-on-year in the first quarter to 425 million euros ($476.68 million), reports Reuters.
Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) has partnered with HP Inc. (NYSE: HPQ), Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) and Telefónica to create a revamped, cloud-based IT infrastructure for its employees. HP is providing a range of services including enterprise cloud computing based on its Helion Managed Private Cloud, Microsoft will help transfer IT services to the cloud via Office 365 and Microsoft Azure, and Telefónica will bring, among other things, its unified communication platform to the party. (See Nokia Names Key IT Partners.)
— Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading