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Eurobites: eir Buys Setanta for Sports Assist

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: EC pulls rank on assessing 3/O2 deal in UK; ETNO boss calls for greater investment; Huawei helps Switzerland's Araxas.

  • Irish incumbent eir (formerly eir ) has agreed to buy Setanta, the Dublin-based sports broadcaster, for an undisclosed sum. Setanta offers a range of premium sports content in the Republic, including English Premier League soccer and Formula 1. Sports content has become a major battleground for telcos wanting to make their mark in the so-called "quad-play" market: In the UK, BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) has spent a fortune wresting European soccer rights out of Sky 's grip, and last month Altice beat off competition from Canal+ for three-year rights to screen English Premier League matches in France. (See Confirmed: BT's Got Euroballs.)

  • The European Commission has rejected a request from the UK's competition authority to examine Hutchison Whampoa Ltd. (Hong Kong: 0013; Pink Sheets: HUWHY)'s £10.3 billion (US$15.5 billion) bid for Telefónica UK Ltd. (O2), reports Reuters. The Commission said that it considered itself "better placed" to assess the issues and ensure consistency in the application of merger rules in the European Economic Area. (See UK Needs O2/3 to Challenge BT/EE – Analyst.)

  • Steven Tas, the executive board chairman of European Telecommunications Network Operators' Association (ETNO) , has called for a "leap" in investment in the European telecom industry if the European Commission's vision of a "digital single market" is to be realized. But he added that this commitment to extra investment will only happen if a "light-touch and more market based approach" is allowed to prevail. For Tas's full blog post, click here.

  • Araxas, a Swiss cloud services provider, has built a virtualized multi-tenant cloud data center network using Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. 's Cloud Fabric. One of the reasons Araxas picked Cloud Fabric was that it wanted its data center network architecture to be flexible enough to evolve into an SDN-enabled architecture. (See Abraxas Builds SDN-Enabled Data Center With Huawei.)

  • Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) has launched its M-Pesa mobile money service in Ghana, offering those without bank accounts the chance to transfer money easily and safely. Ghana is the eleventh Vodafone market across Africa, Asia and Europe to use M-Pesa.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

  • Mitch Wagner 12/7/2015 | 12:32:23 PM
    Play ball! Sports is a key programming element keeping people from cord-cutting, so eir's Setanta acquisition should help it retain and grow customers. 
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