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Eurobites: TalkTalk Dividend Cut Prompts Shares Dive

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Apple buys Finnish sleep-tracking startup; Vodafone's pager deal off the table; cloud services for healthcare; Virgin Vooms into Manchester.

  • Shares in UK quad-play operator TalkTalk fell by 17% in Wednesday morning trading after it cut its full-year dividend and predicted a fall in profits during its next financial year in its preliminary full-year results statement, the Financial Times reports. Revenue fell 3% year-on-year, to £1.78 billion (US$2.30 billion), though headline EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) was up 17% to £304 million ($393 million). Charles Dunstone, who as executive chairman maintains he is taking a more "hands on" role since the departure of former CEO Dido Harding in February, said that the operator will henceforth be focusing on its fixed network and looking to avoid "other capital intensive distractions." (See Eurobites: TalkTalk Counts Cost of Cyber Attack.)

  • Paranoid insomniacs: they're a growing market. Beddit, the Finnish creator of a sleep-tracking app and associated hardware has been bought by Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL), Reuters reports. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

  • A threatened investigation by the UK's Competition and Markets Authority has prompted Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) to pull out of a proposed sale of its paging business to Capita, the BBC reports. The watchdog said it was concerned that there might be unfair price rises on the cards for users of paging services, not least because Vodafone and Capita run the UK's last two remaining paging businesses. Though they may seem as relevant now as eight-track cartridges, pagers are still favored by some for their ruggedness and prolonged battery life.

  • Cloud services provider UKCloud has launched a new division, UKCloud Health, devoted, as its name suggests, to the healthcare industry. Among its (to date) 29 partners and 30 customers, UKCloud counts Capgemini, Informatica Systems and -- get this! -- Wiggly-Amps.

  • UK cable operator Virgin Media Inc. (Nasdaq: VMED), which earlier this week released "softer than planned" first-quarter numbers, has extended its Voom Fiber business broadband offer to the northern city of Manchester. Voom delivers download speeds of up to 350 Mbit/s, with prices starting from £30 ($39) per month. Virgin's much-touted broadband rollout program, Project Lightning, has made less progress than anticipated, with around 700,000 homes reached to date -- when announced in early 2015, the goal of Project Lightning was to extend Virgin's network to another 4 million premises by 2020. (See Liberty Global Cuts Targets on UK Weakness.)

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

  • mendyk 5/10/2017 | 11:03:34 AM
    In other M&A news... Not to be one-upped in the emerging untapped unconscious user sector, Verizon is thinking of making a play for DirtNap.
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