Euronews: AlcaLu Catches Merger Mood

Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU), Telekom Austria AG (NYSE: TKA; Vienna: TKA) and Naguib Sawiris shuffle into view for today's lineup of EMEA telecom headlines.

  • Following the comments of Neelie Kroes (reported yesterday) about the need for European telcos to consolidate, here's more of the same philosophy from AlcaLu Chairman Philippe Camus. In an interview with Bloomberg, Camus said that Europe needed to drop its anti-merger stance and "do more to promote and less to repress ... It's not about pouring money in, it's about allowing and encouraging companies to adopt common standards, co-invest in research and develop products together." (See Euronews: Telcos Should Eat Each Other.)

  • Carlos Slim's attempts to grab a large slice of KPN Telecom NV (NYSE: KPN) have been getting a lot of coverage, but it now transpires América Móvil S.A. de C.V. , Slim's Latin American cash cow, has been holding a stake in Telekom Austria for some time now. That stake, reports Reuters, has now reached 4.1 percent. (See Euronews: Slim Makes His Move on KPN, Slim's Dutch Drama and Euronews: Telekom Austria's Revenues Slide.)

  • More M&A-related mania: The Financial Times (subscription required) reports that Naguib Sawiris, the Egyptian telecom magnate, has lent his support to a new European fund management group set up by former Wind Telecomunicazioni SpA and VimpelCom Ltd. (NYSE: VIP) executives that is specifically looking to raise money to buy underperforming telcos.

  • Openet Telecom Ltd. , the Ireland-based purveyor of Service Provider Information Technology (SPIT) systems, has raised US$21 million in its fourth funding round. This brings the total investment in Openet since 1999 to around $55 million. (See Openet Raises $21M and Openet 'Surprised' by Amdocs Legal Action.)

  • BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) has been asking the U.K. government's Lords communication committee if in the long term the company can continue to have freedom from restrictions on what it charges for access to its fiber network, reports The Guardian. Ofcom , the U.K. regulator, sets the price at which BT sells access to its copper network but as things stand BT sets its own prices for fiber network access -- a state of affairs that some rivals are less than thrilled about. (See Euronews: BT Speeds Up FTTX Rollout.)

  • Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) is close to a sale of its Vertu "luxury" handset unit, reports Business Week. The deal is said to value Vertu at about $250 million. (See Euronews: Nokia to Offload 'Bling' Brand and The Vertu Vanishes .)

  • The European Data Protection Supervisor -- a European Union data watchdog that sounds like a sort of Robojanitor -- has expressed disquiet over the potential threat to consumers' privacy that smart meters pose. It wants to see safeguards put in place before the number times we open the refrigerator during the night becomes common knowledge.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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