Eurobites: BT's Italian Trials Not Over Yet
News Analysis Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe 6/29/2017
Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: BT bolsters UC with Cisco Spark; Nokia goes on Chinese expedition, closes Comptel deal; Telegram app follows the rules in Russia.
The backwash from accounting irregularities at its Italian subsidiary is still rocking the boat at BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA). As the BBC reports, the UK's Financial Reporting Council has launched an investigation into PwC's auditing of BT's financial statements relating to its Italian operation, covering the period 2015-2017. Since the "inappropriate behavior" at BT Italy first came to light last summer, PwC has been replaced as BT's auditor by KPMG. In January BT revealed that the scandal would mean a £530 million ($661 million) write-down on its earnings forecasts, sending its share price down by nearly a fifth. (See Eurobites: BT Dumps PwC in Wake of Italian Scandal and Dodgy Italian Job Savages BT Earnings, Share Price Tanks.)
On a less controversial note, BT has teamed up with Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) to launch a new unified communications service, BT One Collaborate Spark. As the name suggests, the service combines the collaboration tools offered by Cisco Spark -- a hosted collaboration application -- with the voice services of the BT One Cloud Cisco platform.
Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) is looking to get more of a foothold in China, and to this end its Chairman Risto Siilasmaa is meeting today with Chinese authorities to tell them about the vendor's plans to launch a special unit to support Chinese web-scale players that want to expand overseas. The unit, to be led by Chief Strategy Officer Kathrin Buvac, will focus on areas such as data centers, cloud, IP routing, transport and services. (See Nokia Courts China's Web-Scale Giants.)
Closer to home, Nokia has completed the acquisition of Finnish OSS outfit Comptel, a €347 million ($371 million) deal it first announced in February. Nokia hopes that the acquisition will improve its service "orchestration" and decision-making, as well as helping it capture "data-in-motion." In November last year Nokia first expressed its desire to build up a significant standalone software business, and the deal is seen as a part of this strategy. (See Nokia Eyes Bigger Software Role With €347M Comptel Bid and Nokia's Buying Comptel: What the Analysts Say.)
The founder of the Telegram messaging app, Pavel Durov, has agreed to register his service in Russia but insists he will refuse to share confidential user data with anyone, Reuters reports. The Russian authorities believe terrorists used Telegram to help plan a suicide bombing in Russia, and had threatened to block Telegram unless it was properly established within the country's legal framework.
In Sweden, Nordic operator Telia has launched a service that it is hoped will make the lives of those suffering from inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) easier. The idea is that patients with IBD will be better able to manage their health data at home via a test form and app, with the collected data ultimately being sent to a national healthcare register. Around 70,000 people in Sweden live with IBD.
— Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading
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