Eurobites: TIM/KKR deal off – for now

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Telenor merges international units; union rejects BT pay award; the return of the voice call.

  • Telecom Italia (TIM) has walked away – for now – from the takeover bid proffered by KKR, refusing to grant the US-based investment fund access to its books to carry out due diligence. In a statement, TIM said: "Given that KKR did not confirm its Expression of Interest, including the price therein previously indicated, the Board unanimously decided that it would not be appropriate at this time to grant KKR access to due diligence," adding that should "KKR submit a deliverable, complete and attractive offer (including, amongst other things, a price per TIM ordinary / saving share), TIM Board of Directors would be open to reconsidering its decision in the interest of all shareholders." KKR came up with its €10.8 billion (US$10.9 billion) offer back in November, but TIM dragged its feet on the matter, waiting almost four months before even starting serious discussions with its suitor. Meanwhile, in the midst of the KKR kerfuffle, Pietro Labriola has been confirmed as the new CEO of TIM. (See TIM and KKR lock horns over due diligence.)

    (Source: Arcansel/Alamy Stock Photo)
    (Source: Arcansel/Alamy Stock Photo)

  • Norway-based Telenor has decided to merge its two international units, Telenor Digital AS (TD) and Telenor Global Services AS (TGS), into a single entity. Currently, TGS supplies core telco services such as international voice, messaging, and data roaming for Telenor, while TD is a pure software company. The new company, seemingly as yet unnamed, will have an estimated revenue of approximately 2 billion Norwegian kronor ($228 million), employ around 190 people and have its headquarters in Fornebu, Finland.

  • UK incumbent operator BT has awarded what it says is its highest pay raise to "frontline" workers in more than 20 years – but the deal has already been rejected by the company's principal labor union, the Communication Workers Union (CWU). The operator proposes giving all BT, Openreach, Plusnet and EE frontline workers a £1,500 ($1,954) pay increase which, it says, represents an increase of almost 8% for some employees. However, as the Guardian reports, the CWU, which had been pushing for a 10% raise, remained unimpressed and prepared the ground for industrial action.

  • Rwanda is to open what is claimed to be the first Centre of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (C4IR) in Africa. As IT News Africa reports, artificial intelligence and data privacy are among the themes to be explored at the facility.

  • Three UK has published a report into Mobile Britain which finds, among other nuggets, that sales of handsets have quadrupled in 2021 and 5G data on Three's network is now double that of 3G. Weirdly, perhaps, the "old-fashioned" phone call, with, you know, actual talking, seems to be making a comeback, with the number of voice call minutes notched up increasing throughout 2020 and 2021. However, three in five people still prefer texting to calling, so let's not get carried away.

  • Ofcom, the UK communications regulator, has hired Dan Lloyd as its group director for spectrum. Lloyd has more than 20 years' experience in the wireless and technology sectors, most recently as group executive at TPG Telecom in Australia. Ofcom's Spectrum Group is charged with ensuring that the UK's wireless spectrum is used efficiently and effectively.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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