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Eurobites: Vivendi Spooks Telecom Italia Shareholders

Paul Rainford
11/20/2015

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: eir in talks to buy Setanta; lawyers smell TalkTalk blood; Deutsche Telekom bans phones for Christmas.

  • Vivendi 's growing interest in Telecom Italia is making some other shareholders in the Italian incumbent nervous, reports Reuters. The French media conglomerate is now the largest shareholder in Telecom Italia, with a 20.116% stake, and it is looking to appoint three of its top executives to the board. Now a group of Italian and foreign funds has written a letter to Telecom Italia's top brass, asking them to urgently examine Vivendi's request.

  • Ireland's eir (formerly known as eir ) is in advanced talks to buy Setanta Sports, the Dublin-based pay-TV broadcaster, according to the Irish Times. Only last week Setanta signed a multi-year extension to its current deal with BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA), which allows its customers to receive BT's sports channels as part of the Setanta pack.

  • Qatari mobile operator Ooredoo has signed a five-year extension of its agreement with Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. , which will see the Chinese vendor supply a range of technologies and services. Earlier this week Ooredoo announced a similar deal with Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC).

  • The lawyers are beginning to encircle TalkTalk , the UK broadband provider that hit the headlines last month when it was the victim of a cyber attack that compromised the personal details of nearly 157,000 of its 4 million customers. The Guardian reports that a second law firm, based in Wales, is looking into mounting a class action against TalkTalk on behalf of aggrieved customers who have had their bank details and more taken. (See TalkTalk Plummets on Security Woes.)

  • Two rival bidders have emerged for Bulgaria's Vivacom , which is being put up for sale by owner VTB Capital. As Reuters reports, in the blue corner is Bulgarian businessman Spas Roussev, and in the red is the combination of Olympia Group and hedge fund Third Point.

  • Here's something you don't hear every day: a telecom operator asking its customers not to use the phone quite so much. Well, for one day anyway. It's all part of Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT) 's Christmas-related ad campaign, which sets out to show the joy to be had sitting, deviceless, around the turkey and trimmings and actually, you know, talking to each other on December 25. That's just weird.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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    Susan Fourtané
    Susan Fourtané
    11/22/2015 | 9:51:02 AM
    Unthoughtful Deutsch Telekom
    After watching Deutsch Telekom's unthoughtful commercial I wonder how come the ones who created the campaign can be so narrow-minded and ignore the fact that many people spend the holidays far away from their family, being their devices the only way of communication to get a little closer. This is a ridiculous campagn. -Susan
    Susan Fourtané
    Susan Fourtané
    11/22/2015 | 9:23:37 AM
    Re: Deviceless at the dinner table
    Paul, so what really happened was that Deutsch Telekom got inspiration from Rod Stewart? And does this mean that one can't communicate with anyone who is not in the same house then? That could be a lonely holiday time for some. I think that's a silly idea. Not everyone's family is around in the same house/city/country/continent/planet, if we also consider those in the ISS. I think this is something far from thoughtful from Deutsch Telekom. It won't work, of course, because it doesn't make any sense. -Susan
    Susan Fourtané
    Susan Fourtané
    11/22/2015 | 9:11:12 AM
    Re: Deviceless at the dinner table
    How funny, mendyk. :D Caffein-free Monday by Starbucks? I'd love to see what happens on such Monday. -Susan
    mendyk
    mendyk
    11/20/2015 | 10:57:31 AM
    Re: Deviceless at the dinner table
    Phone-free holiday advocated by mobile operators? What's next -- a No Heroin Tuesday declaration by local drug dealers? A French-fryless Friday from McDonald's?
    PaulERainford
    PaulERainford
    11/20/2015 | 9:47:06 AM
    Deviceless at the dinner table
    Apparently, croaky rock legend Rod Stewart forbids the use of smartphones at the family dinner table. This impressed us so much that now, chez Rainford, we often deploy the phrase 'What would Rod Stewart do?' when faced with any etiquette-related dilemma. It's surprisingly helpful.
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