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Eurobites: Zayo Lines Up New Euro Boss After Kane Quits

In today's EMEA regional roundup: Zayo needs a new Euro boss; Nokia lands managed services deal in Denmark; Avaaz hits out at Murdoch's bid for Sky; Orange aims to go greener in Africa.

  • Zayo Group Inc. (NYSE: ZAYO) is set to appoint a new managing director of its European business following the recent departure of Alastair Kane, the company revealed during an earnings update late Monday. The network operator, which has been investing in dark fiber infrastructure in North America and Europe, has already identified a candidate and expects to finalize the appointment "shortly," said executives during a phone call with analysts. CEO David Caruso and chief operating officer Andrew Crouch said that Kane had left for "personal reasons" and that recent results in Europe have been "good." Zayo saw its global revenues grow 26% in the April-to-June quarter, to $638 million, compared with the year-earlier period, and swung from a net loss of $30.9 million to a profit of $23.2 million over the same period. During an interview with Light Reading in late 2015, Kane cited growing interest in dark fiber services among mobile operators looking for backhaul alternatives to incumbent offerings, describing this as one of Zayo's biggest opportunities in Europe. (See Zayo Sees the Light in Europe's Dark Fiber.)

  • Finland's Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) has landed a managed services deal with Telia Company and Telenor Group (Nasdaq: TELN) in Denmark, where from October this year it will look after a joint mobile radio network comprising more than 4,000 sites. Nokia said it would take over all "operational and development tasks," providing services including network planning and optimization and network implementation. The vendor also claims the deal will lead to an improvement in network capacity and better coverage for Telia and Telenor. Nokia was already providing single radio access network technology to the operators before this week's deal was announced.

  • A UK activist group called Avaaz has launched an attack on Ofcom after the regulatory authority backed an $11.7 billion takeover bid by Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox for the 61% of broadcasting giant Sky it does not already own, reports the Guardian. Amid concern the deal would leave Murdoch in a dominant position in the UK media market, Avaaz has criticized a ruling by Ofcom that Murdoch would be a "fit and proper" owner of Sky, according to the Guardian report. While an Ofcom report appears to support the deal, culture secretary Karen Bradley has said she may refer it to the UK's Competition and Markets Authority for a more in-depth investigation into its impact on "media plurality" in the UK. Murdoch already owns a number of UK newspapers, including the Times, the Sunday Times and the Sun, and critics fear he will have even more influence in the news business if the Sky deal is allowed to proceed. Besides running a major broadcasting operation, Sky also provides broadband services in the UK market. (See 21st Century Fox Confirms $14.6B Bid for Sky.)

  • French service provider Orange (NYSE: FTE) is reported by Bloomberg to have teamed up with an African developer of solar-powered telecom towers called GreenWish Partners in an effort to reduce costs and bolster the reliability of network infrastructure in Africa. By using hybrid systems that combine solar panels with batteries and diesel generators, GreenWish believes it can reduce energy costs by as much as 30% for network operators. African networks are plagued by unreliable grid infrastructure and high energy costs for off-grid towers, according to the Bloomberg report, while solar costs are falling rapidly. Orange plans to activate 250 GreenWish towers in the Democratic Republic of Congo this year and is aiming to use 3,000 solar-powered towers across several countries by 2018 and 10,000 towers by 2020, reports Bloomberg.

    — Iain Morris, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profile, News Editor, Light Reading

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