PARIS (Reuters) - Europe's big telecom firms are back to rude financial health after years of poor results and regulatory pressure, drawing crowds of new investors and protests from rivals who worry the formerly state-owned companies may rebuild their monopolies.
Germany's Deutsche Telekom and Spain's Telefonica have predicted that revenues will grow this year, while France's Orange and Norway's Telenor have promised higher future dividends, a major motivation for investors in the sector.
MILAN (Reuters) - The Italian government is pushing to speed up the roll-out of ultrafast broadband networks to help its ailing economy, fuelling speculation it could force incumbent Telecom Italia into a costly overhaul of its existing infrastructure.
The cabinet of Prime Minister Matteo Renzi meets on Tuesday to approve an 6 billion euro ($6.7 billion) plan to build a nationwide fiber optic network by replacing the aging copper wires that run into subscribers' homes.
(Reuters) - Cablevision Systems Corp reported a drop in video subscribers for the tenth quarter in a row, raising concerns about the company's prospects as customers increasingly shift to lower-priced bundled services from telecom carriers.
Cablevision's shares fell as much as 5.5 percent after the company also posted a 3.4 percent drop in adjusted operating cash flow, a closely watched metric for the cable TV industry.
PARIS (Reuters) - Billionaire Patrick Drahi is aiming to buy Vivendi's 20 percent stake in Numericable-SFR to strengthen his grip on France's No.2 telecoms group and prepare for a possible next round of industry consolidation.
Drahi's holding company Altice and its subsidiary Numericable-SFR said on Wednesday they had offered Vivendi 3.9 billion euros ($4.5 billion), or 40 euros a share, for the media firm's stake.
FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Germany's Rocket Internet went to investors with a capital hike just four months after its stock flotation, asking for fresh funds following a 1 billion euro spending spree that targets online food takeaway businesses as the next big thing.
The Berlin-based company, Europe's biggest Internet player thanks to its stakes in more than 100 start-ups ranging from fashion to finance, raised 1.4 billion euros ($1.6 billion) in its October IPO. It added a further 588 million euros on Friday that it said would allow it to continue to look around.
BEIJING/BENGALURU (Reuters) - Baidu Inc's shift to smartphones has come at a cost: the Chinese internet firm forecast lower-than-expected revenue growth for the first quarter as its share from less profitable mobile browsing grows at the expense of PC searches.
Baidu shares fell more than 9 percent in after-hours trading in New York after it also posted a lower-than-expected 47.5 percent rise in fourth quarter revenues. Its revenue forecast of 12.65-13.07 billion yuan ($2-$2.1 billion) for the current quarter came below analysts' average expectations of 13.62 billion yuan.
HONG KONG (Reuters) - Chinese smartphone maker ZTE Corp plans to invest 1.5 billion yuan ($240 million) in wireless charging technology for vehicles in 2015 and more than 2 billion yuan next year, a senior executive told Reuters on Thursday.
ZTE's director of corporate strategy, George Sun, also said the company had signed agreements with more than 20 cities in China to provide wireless charging technology for public transportation, in a significant boost for the country's electric car industry.
(Reuters) - Akamai Technologies Inc's quarterly profit and revenue beat market estimates as demand jumped both for its security products and mainstay content delivery businesses.
Akamai shares shot up 5 percent in extended trading on Tuesday before shedding some gains after it issued a cautious forecast for the current quarter.
Revenue in Akamai's security business soared 24.7 percent to $239.7 million in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31.
High-profile hacking incidents have dogged companies including Sony Corp, Target Corp and health insurer Anthem Inc in recent years.
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - With its surprise endorsement of a stricter U.S. regulatory regime for Internet service providers, Sprint Corp wanted to show that tougher rules would not stop rival telecom players from investing, Chief Technology Officer Stephen Bye said in an interview.
"It's one of those topics that is highly charged, highly politicized and we took a step back and said it works in the interest of our customers, our consumers and the industry and we frankly found some of the arguments (of our competitors) to be less than compelling," Bye told Reuters this week.
(Reuters) - Network equipment maker Cisco Systems Inc reported stronger-than-expected quarterly revenue and profit as demand for switching equipment and routers helped make up for weak spending by the company's traditional telecom customers.
Cisco, which saw its shares rise 5.6 percent in extended trading on Wednesday, has been trying to make a transition toward a new cycle of high-end switches and routers.
""We executed very well in a tough environment, and I'd say our strategy is playing out like we expected," Chief Financial Officer Kelly Kramer told Reuters.