Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: legal challenge to Telefónica's E-Plus acquisition; KPN gets down with the startups; Apple Pay for the UK?
Does Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT) have designs on BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA)? That's the speculation being given an airing in the Daily Telegraph, which cites "senior industry executives and City analysts" predicting that BT could become a takeover target for the German giant in the light of reported merger talks between Deutsche Telekom's US arm, T-Mobile US Inc. , and satellite operator Dish Network LLC (Nasdaq: DISH). Deutsche Telekom is already on course to become a major shareholder in BT once BT's acquisition of EE is completed. (See T-Mobile US Sale Fits DT's All-IP Game Plan and All-IP DT Could Drive Euro M&A, Say Analysts.)
Airdata AG , a German regional mobile operator, has filed a legal challenge to Telefónica 's €8.6 billion ($9.6 billion) acquisition of E-Plus in the EU General Court, Reuters reports. The operator believes that the conditions of the merger -- which was completed last year -- were not stringent enough. (See Eurobites: Telefónica Sweetens E-Plus Deal.)
Dutch incumbent KPN Telecom NV (NYSE: KPN) is hoping to plug itself into innovation with the launch of a dedicated venture fund, KPN Ventures. The carrier has reserved an initial total amount of €35 million for investments in startups that meet the criteria of the fund.
Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) is set to roll out its smartphone-based payment service, Apple Pay, in the UK later this summer, according to the Daily Telegraph. The iPhone accounts for almost half of all smartphones sold in the UK, so the payment system has the potential to take off where others have flopped.
Telekom Austria Group has bought a fixed-line operator called Amis that serves customers in Croatia and Slovenia and will support the Austrian incumbent's convergence strategy. Telekom Austria did not disclose the financial terms of the deal but said the move would allow it to offer the full array of fixed voice, broadband, TV and mobile services in six of its eight markets. Amis claims to serve 86,000 customers across Croatia and Slovenia with fixed voice, broadband and TV services.
Orange (NYSE: FTE) CEO Stephane Richard is off on a damage-limitation visit to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu following his remarks last week about wanting to end his company's licensing deal there as soon as possible, reports Reuters. Richard's remarks, referring to Orange's brand licensing arrangement with Partner Communications, seemed to be expressing condemnation of illegal Israeli settlements (in the eyes of international law), but he later denied supporting a boycott of Israel, claiming he had been misunderstood.
— Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading