France Tel CEO's future in question after fraud inquiry

Reuters

The future of France Telecom Chief Executive Stephane Richard remained in question on Thursday, after he was put under investigation for conspiracy to commit fraud during his time as a top government aide.

The board of Europe's fourth-largest telecom group, which is 27 percent owned by the state, is set to meet in coming days to discuss Richard's fate.

Vodafone moves for Kabel Deutschland in quad-play push

Reuters

Vodafone said on Wednesday it had made an approach to buy Germany's biggest cable company Kabel Deutschland in what could be its largest deal since 2007 and mark a departure from its roots as a pure mobile operator.

Vodafone (Newbury, UK) had been pursuing a possible 10 billion euro ($13.3 billion) bid for the German firm since earlier this year, and hired Goldman Sachs to advise on options in February, sources told Reuters at the time.

"(Vodafone) confirms that it has made a preliminary approach to KD regarding a possible offer for the company," it said.

SFR preparing for initial public offering: report

French mobile phone operator SFR is preparing to hold an initial public offering in late 2014 or early 2015, according to a report from Les Echos.

SFR (Paris, France) chairman Stephane Roussel told the newspaper that SFR must re-organize to be more independent from parent company Vivendi (Paris, France), with an IPO.

Roussel had been chief executive of SFR since June 2012, but relinquished that role in late May to Jean-Yves Charlier – a change in governance that appears to have been motivated by the prospect of “an initial public offering if market conditions permit”.

Chorus says regulatory moves imperil New Zealand's fiber future

New Zealand operator Chorus has lashed out at regulatory moves to slash wholesale prices for access to its copper broadband services, arguing it will put the “once in a generation” transition to fiber at risk.

Meeting with New Zealand’s Commerce Commission, as well as representatives of the country’s retail operators, Mark Ratcliffe the chief executive of Chorus (Wellington, New Zealand), said the regulatory proposals had led to a “dramatic flight of international capital out of Chorus and New Zealand”.

BT grows broadband market share in first quarter: Point Topic

UK telecoms incumbent BT strengthened its position in the country’s broadband market in the first three months of the year, according to new research from Point Topic, gaining 0.28% market share to give it 30.3% of the market altogether.

The retail business of BT (London, UK) now serves more than 6.7 million broadband customers, 800,000 of whom are also subscribers to BT Vision, the company’s television service.

Vodafone makes informal bid for Kabel Deutschland: Bloomberg

Reuters

Vodafone Group Plc has made an informal takeover bid within the past week for Germany's biggest cable company, Kabel Deutschland Holding AG, Bloomberg reported, citing people with knowledge of the matter.

Takeover talks have not formally begun because Kabel Deutschland (Unterfoehring, Germany) believes the price Vodafone (Newbury, UK) suggested was too low, Bloomberg said, citing people who were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.

EU to clamp down on net neutrality abuses

EU commissioner Neelie Kroes has said forthcoming net neutrality legislation will ensure telecoms operator cannot block or throttle competing services while offering a predictable regulatory framework that encourages network investments.

In a speech delivered to the European Parliament in Brussels, Kroes said “failure to take coordinated action on net neutrality would shatter the fragile construction” of a single European telecoms market – something the commissioner believes is necessary if the European industry is to thrive years ahead.

Dish refutes Sprint objections to Clearwire bid

The battle for ownership of Clearwire between Dish Network and Sprint has intensified after the satellite TV company hit back at accusations that its offer runs afoul of Delaware law and Clearwire’s equityholders’ agreement.

Last December, Sprint (Overland Park, KS, USA), Clearwire’s majority owner, made an offer of $2.97 a share for the remaining shares in the operator, to which Clearwire’s managers gave their assent.

Brazil's Oi rises sharply after appointing new boss

Shares in Brazil’s Oi have risen sharply following the appointment of Zeinal Bava as the company’s new chief executive on Tuesday.

At the close of business on the same day, Oi’s share price was up by 17% on the Sao Paolo exchange, representing the operator’s biggest increase since October 2008, according to Bloomberg.

Saudi Mobily in talks to buy stake in fixed line firm Atheeb

Reuters

Saudi Arabia's No.2 mobile company Etihad Etisalat <7020.SE> (Mobily) is in talks to buy a stake in loss-making fixed-line operator Etihad Atheeb <7040.SE>, according to a statement on the kingdom's bourse.

The two firms have entered non-binding talks for a Mobily (Riyadh, Saudi Arabia) subsidiary to buy a stake in Atheeb (Riyadh, Saudi Arabia), according to the statement, which sets a June 30 deadline to announce "relevant developments".

This did not state what size stake Mobily was seeking or who the potential sellers are.

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