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March 2, 2020
In today's regional roundup: M&A action in Spain; Iliad closes fiber deal with InfraVia; Vivendi fights Italian court over Mediaset; Nokia loses market share.
MásMóvil, Spain's fourth-largest telecom operator, has announced plans to acquire Lycamobile Spain for about €372 million (US$412 million), saying the takeover will boost its position in the prepaid mobile market and produce cost savings. MVNO Lycamobile serves about 1.5 million prepaid customers in Spain, generating annual sales of €132 million ($146 million) and earnings (before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) of €45 million ($50 million). Following the takeover, MásMóvil would have nearly €2 billion ($2.2 billion) in annual revenues, about €550 million ($610 million) in EBITDA and roughly 9 million mobile lines. It expects to save money by cutting "headquarters" costs and migrating Lycamobile's customers to its own network. The deal, which requires regulatory approval, would be financed through debt and have no significant impact on MásMóvil's leverage, said the operator in a statement filed with Spanish regulatory authorities.
French telco Iliad said late Friday it had closed a deal to sell part of its fiber business to InfraVia, a French private equity firm with an infrastructure focus. Under the deal first announced in September, InfraVia will take a 51% stake in IFT, an Iliad business tasked with acquiring and operating Iliad's co-financed full-fiber assets outside France's more densely populated communities. Iliad values the business at €600 million ($665 million) and says it will continue to buy access and information services from IFT, which will be free to provide those same services to other French operators. Iliad said the deal would support its investment activity and is targeting more than 4.5 million fiber subscribers by 2024, up from about 1.5 million in September last year. The deal continues a trend of European operators part-divesting some of their infrastructure assets to pay off debts and raise funds for other spending activity.
France's Vivendi, a major shareholder in various media and telecom businesses throughout Europe, said it would fight an Italian court's decision not to suspend a planned reorganization at Mediaset, an Italian broadcaster in which it holds a substantial stake. Mediaset is pressing ahead with a restructuring that would place its Italian and Spanish units under the control of a Dutch holding firm, but Vivendi has argued this will harm the interests of minority shareholders. The French company is locked in a battle for influence over Mediaset with the family of former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, which today controls the broadcaster. Vivendi has encountered a political backlash in Italy because of its extensive presence in the country's telecom and media sectors. Besides owning part of Mediaset, it holds a 24% stake in Telecom Italia, the country's biggest telecom operator.
Nokia's share of the world's telecom equipment market slid 1% last year, according to respected market-research firm Dell'Oro, to about 16% of the total, while Ericsson held steady at about 14%. Figures published by the company showed that Western firms including Cisco continued to face pressure from Chinese rivals Huawei and ZTE despite US efforts to have those companies banned from 5G equipment markets. Dell'Oro's research considers the markets for broadband access, microwave and optical transport, mobile core and radio access networks and service provider routing and switching. The company says the overall equipment market grew 2% last year in sales terms, fueled by investments in 5G networks and supporting infrastructure. Its update comes on the same day that Nokia CEO Rajeev Suri announced he had quit and would step down at the end of August this year. (See Nokia CEO Suri quits after 5G setbacks.)
— Iain Morris, International Editor, Light Reading
Read more about:Europe
International Editor, Light Reading
Iain Morris joined Light Reading as News Editor at the start of 2015 -- and we mean, right at the start. His friends and family were still singing Auld Lang Syne as Iain started sourcing New Year's Eve UK mobile network congestion statistics. Prior to boosting Light Reading's UK-based editorial team numbers (he is based in London, south of the river), Iain was a successful freelance writer and editor who had been covering the telecoms sector for the past 15 years. His work has appeared in publications including The Economist (classy!) and The Observer, besides a variety of trade and business journals. He was previously the lead telecoms analyst for the Economist Intelligence Unit, and before that worked as a features editor at Telecommunications magazine. Iain started out in telecoms as an editor at consulting and market-research company Analysys (now Analysys Mason).
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