Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Europe still weighs on Vodafone revenues; EE on course for 6 million 4G customers by year's end.
UK entertainment and communications services giant BSkyB has struck acquisition deals with 21st Century Fox worth £5.35 billion (US$9.1 billion) that, it says, will make BSkyB the leading pay TV provider in three of Europe's four largest markets. It will acquire 100% of Sky Italia for £2.45 billion ($4.16 billion), and buy Fox's 57.4% stake in Sky Deutschland for £2.9 billion ($4.93 billion), to add to its existing core business in the UK and Ireland. Pending regulatory and shareholder approval, the resulting pan-European business will have more than 20 million customers, compared with its current 11.5 million customers. For more details, see this announcement and this Reuters article. The company also announced its results for the fiscal full year that ended June 30: Revenues grew by 6.5% to £7.6 billion ($12.9 billion) but its operating profit was down 5.3% to £1.26 billion ($2.1 billion). See this earnings release for more details.
Vodafone's financials are still taking a hit from a number of major European markets, where a combination of macro economic factors, intense competition and regulatory pricing rules are putting pressure on its revenues. The international operator reported group services revenues of £9.45 billion ($16.1 billion) for the quarter ending June 30, a decline of 4.2% on an "organic" basis (once currency fluctuations and M&A activities are taken into account). In Europe, the organic services decline was 7.9% but this was offset to some degree by an organic increase in revenues in India and Turkey. For more details and some analyst views, see this Reuters report. Also this week, Vodafone completed the acquisition of Spanish cable operator Ono for €7.2 billion ($9.7 billion). (See ONO Says Yes to Vodafone.)
EE , the UK's largest mobile operator, says it's on course to have 6 million 4G LTE customers by the end of 2014. The operator added 1.3 million new 4G customers during the second quarter to take its total to nearly 4.2 million at the end of June. The operator, which has 24.54 million mobile customers in total, reported first half revenues of £3.1 billion ($5.26 billion), down 3% from a year ago, and adjusted earnings (after one-time costs and charges) of £760 million ($1.3 billion), up 1.9%. For more, see this EE results announcement. EE is currently undertaking LTE Broadcast trials as it looks to develop a new range of next generation mobile broadband services. (See EE to Trial 4G Broadcast in Scotland.)
— Ray Le Maistre, , Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading