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Eurobites: Telecom Italia's Genish Sets Record Straight Over Elliott

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: German cable operators could face change in network access rules; Jan Frykhammar joins Openet board; Timotheus Höttges on that merger.

  • Telecom Italia (TIM) has taken issue with a report in the Daily Telegraph that suggests its CEO, Amos Genish, is ready to resign if activist investor Elliott Management gets its way in and appoints its group of non-executive directors to the TIM board at a shareholders meeting scheduled for Friday. In a statement, the operator said: "TIM would like to clarify that the headline is misleading and does not reflect the exchange between Amos Genish and the paper." The turmoil at TIM was triggered by major shareholder Vivendi 's decision to take control of the troubled company, a move that caused alarm in several quarters, not least Elliott's. (See Telecom Italia Molders as Shareholders Feud.)

  • Germany's cable operators may have to open up their networks for use by third parties in the same way that incumbent Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT) does, according to a Reuters report citing the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper. The report suggests that if such a law is passed, it could scupper the planned merger between Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) and Liberty Global Inc. (Nasdaq: LBTY). (See Vodafone-Liberty Merger Doubtful in Germany, Says Analyst and Vodafone's Colao, DT's Höttges Lock Horns in Barca.)

  • Jan Frykhammar, the former CEO and CFO of Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC), has joined Openet Telecom Ltd. 's board of directors. Dublin-based Openet recently landed a policy management contract win with an unnamed Tier 1 APAC operator, ousting Cisco Systems.

  • Well unless you've been hiding under a rock this morning you'll have heard that T-Mobile US is to buy Sprint for $26.5 billion. Let's hear the take of Timotheus Höttges, CEO of T-Mobile US Inc. parent company Deutsche Telekom, on the matter…

  • In other DT-related news, the operator has landed an "eight-figure," five-year contract with the German state of Brandenburg to provide a new communications infrastructure for the state's administration. Connections of up to 10 Gbit/s are being promised by the operator.

  • Sky , the UK-based pay-TV provider that is at the heart of an ongoing takeover battle, is to launch a channel devoted to horse racing in March 2019. The broadcaster has signed a 10-year deal with Chester Race Company to bring live racing from the courses at Chester and Bangor-on-Dee. The channel, which maintains a trend for launching channels dedicated to one particular sport, will be available to subscribers in the UK and Ireland as part of their standard Sky Sports package. (See Comcast Bids $31B to Steal Sky From Fox, Disney.)

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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