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Eurobites: Telefónica Splashes €2.4B on Soccer

  • Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Tele2 gets a loan; new role for Swantee; Ooredoo expands mobile money platform.

  • Telefónica has splashed out €2.4 billion (US$2.6 billion) on rights to Spain's La Liga soccer league and European Champions League matches over three seasons, reports Bloomberg, in a move that sees it playing catch-up with domestic rivals Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) and Orange (NYSE: FTE), who already owned rights to the Champions League. Though €2.4 billion is clearly a lot of money, it compares pretty favorably to the €2.36 billion ($2.55 billion) BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) paid for a similar three-year combination of Premier League and European soccer -- the important difference being that BT only has rights to screen 42 Premier League matches in each of the three seasons (out of a total 380), while Telefónica has the rights to eight games every La Liga match day, bringing it substantially more matches overall. In the UK, BT is engaged in an ongoing dogfight with Sky over sports rights. (See BT, Sky Splash £5.1B on Premier League Rights and Confirmed: BT's Got Euroballs.)

  • Sweden-based operator Tele2 AB (Nasdaq: TLTO) has secured a five-year credit facility of €800 million ($864 million) from a syndicate of 11 banks. Tele2 has around 14 million mobile, fixed and broadband subscribers across nine markets, from Sweden to Kazakhstan. (See Integrating Networks & IT the Tele2 Way .)

  • Olaf Swantee, who last week announced that he would be stepping down as CEO of UK mobile operator EE once its acquisition by BT is completed, has been proposed as a new member of Telia Company 's board of directors, along with Susanna Campbell, CEO of Ratos, a Swedish private equity firm, and Anna Settman, CEO and partner of The Springfield Project, an investment company. (See Allera Will Replace Swantee as EE CEO.)

  • EE, meanwhile, is clearly keeping up with its investment obligations as the BT takeover approaches: It has announced a multi-million-pound makeover of its site in the northern English town of Darlington, which is home to more than 1,500 employees.

  • Qatari operator Ooredoo is launching its AsiaHawala mobile financial services platform in Iraq. The service will enable customers of Asiacell Telecommunications Co. Ltd. , an Ooredoo subsidiary, to perform a range of transactions, including transfers, bill payments and airtime top-up. The AsiaHawala platform is already available in Qatar, Indonesia and Tunisia.

  • Data privacy? What data privacy? The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that bosses can take a sneaky peek at their underlings' emails and instant messages any time they like, reports Bloomberg. The case in question centered on a Romanian man who was sacked after his boss snooped on his private Yahoo Messenger and found him exchanging pleasantries with his fiancee. The unfortunate fellow had been asked by his boss to set up the Messenger account to deal with clients' enquiries. He believed his sacking represented a violation of his rights -- but obviously the officials in Strasbourg thought otherwise.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

  • Mitch Wagner 1/13/2016 | 5:01:09 PM
    Data privacy Interesting data privacy ruling. It's been a whle since I followed the subject, but I recall US cases ruling that your employer has a right to view your email if it owns the email server and informs you of its policies. 

    I presume that same law applies to the era of SaaS. If your employer writes the check to Microsoft or Google, then they can look at your email. 

    But in this case the employee seems to have signed up for a free Yahoo service, albeit at his employer's request. 

    Seems harsh to fire the guy just for exchanging endearments with his sweetie. A talking-to would seem to be more appropriate. In cases like this, I usually suspect there are other factors we don't know about: Either the employee was a bad egg and the employer was looking for a legally clean way to get rid of him, or the emploer was looking to get rid of him by firing him for cause rather than laying him off and paying benefits. Either way, the actual infraction is merely an excuse. 
    Ariella 1/13/2016 | 9:44:48 AM
    soccer If soccer holds the same draw for people in Spain as football does for people in the US, the amount oculd well be warraned. In 2014 Bloomberg explained that channels pay a lot to braodcast games because the bring in so much -- enough to warrant ESPN's huge investment. 
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