Eurobites: Auction to Settle Sky Takeover Tussle

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Telecom Italia considers Brazilian acquisition; Deutsche Telekom and Aricent edge nearer; Nokia helps the trains run on time.

Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe

September 20, 2018

4 Min Read
Eurobites: Auction to Settle Sky Takeover Tussle

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Telecom Italia considers Brazilian acquisition; Deutsche Telekom and Aricent edge nearer; Nokia helps the trains run on time.

  • Sold to the tycoon at the back in the fawn fedora! The UK's Takeover Panel has decreed that the only way to decide who is going to buy pay-TV giant Sky is to hold a 24-hour auction. Unless either of them sneak in a monster, decisive bid in the next 24 hours, 21st Century Fox and Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) will do battle from 5 p.m. UK time on Friday, with the gavel coming down for the final time on Saturday evening. All parties have agreed to the nerve-crunching auction process, which will comprise a maximum of three rounds.

    Commenting on the news, independent media sector analyst Paolo Pescatore said: "For now, Comcast seems to be in pole position, but it's not a slam dunk. "There's so much to play for and expect both companies to open up the war chest. This represents a great opportunity to own a prized asset which will prove to be a worthy long-term investment."

    As the various bids have piled in over the past three months, Sky's share price has soared by 18%. At the time of writing today, Sky's share price stood at £15.80, valuing the company at £27.2 billion (US$35.9 billion). (See Eurobites: Sky Shareholders Spurn Comcast Offer, Fox's Sky Offer Doesn't Trump Comcast's, but Could Extend Bidding War, Comcast Gives Up on Fox, Focuses on Sky and UK Ruling Sparks Bidding War for Sky.)

    Home in on the opportunities and challenges facing European cable operators. Join Light Reading for the Cable Next-Gen Europe event in London on November 6. All cable operators and other communications service providers get in free!

    • Telecom Italia (TIM) may be experiencing trouble and strife on its home turf, but its Brazilian unit is apparently feeling gung-ho enough to consider a bid for Nextel Telecomunicacoes, that country's fifth-largest mobile operator. According to Bloomberg, the potential move may be on the agenda at Telecom Italia's next board meeting, scheduled for September 24. Brazil accounted for 23% of TIM's total revenue last year. (See Telecom Italia Molders as Shareholders Feud.)

    • Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT) and Aricent Inc. have joined forces on what they describe as an "open source, low latency edge compute platform" that is intended to help operators develop 5G mobile applications and services. One element of the platform is a "software framework" for developers that incorporates cloud-native MEC (multi-access edge computing) technology.

    • Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) has teamed up with engineering firm Altran to create an IoT-based maintenance system for use by rail operators. The system employs sensors to monitor and gather data on the condition and performance of rolling stock, and uses the wireless network and IoT connections to aggregate and transmit data. Nokia boldly claims that the system can deliver up to a 30% improvement in train reliability, a 20% reduction in delays and cancellations and a 10% reduction in maintenance man-hours.

    • The European Commission is showing no signs of flagging in its ongoing battle to bring the online giants into line. According to Reuters, European Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova has given Facebook until the end of the year to sort out its "misleading" terms of service or else face sanctions. Just down the corridor (probably), Margrethe Vestager , the EU Commissioner for Competition, is now easing off on Google and retraining her guns on Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN). As the Telegraph reports, Vestager suspects Amazon of using data it gathers from third-party merchants on its retail platform to gain an unfair advantage over them.

    • Valérie Berset Bircher is stepping down from Swisscom AG (NYSE: SCM)'s board of directors to take up a senior position at the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), effective January 1, 2019

      Figure 1: Moving on: Swisscom's Valerie Berset Bircher Moving on: Swisscom's Valérie Berset Bircher

    • Ireland's Openet Telecom Ltd. is cracking open a can of Guinness to celebrate the fact that its Openet Data Fabric (ODF) has processed over a trillion "events" per day on the Microsoft Azure cloud. An event in this context includes calls, texts to data and social use on smartphones. Cheers!

      — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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About the Author(s)

Paul Rainford

Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

Paul is based on the Isle of Wight, a rocky outcrop off the English coast that is home only to a colony of technology journalists and several thousand puffins.

He has worked as a writer and copy editor since the age of William Caxton, covering the design industry, D-list celebs, tourism and much, much more.

During the noughties Paul took time out from his page proofs and marker pens to run a small hotel with his other half in the wilds of Exmoor. There he developed a range of skills including carrying cooked breakfasts, lying to unwanted guests and stopping leaks with old towels.

Now back, slightly befuddled, in the world of online journalism, Paul is thoroughly engaged with the modern world, regularly firing up his VHS video recorder and accidentally sending text messages to strangers using a chipped Nokia feature phone.

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