France Telecom becomes Orange

France Telecom has officially dropped its original moniker and taken up the name of Orange, which has served as its brand across most commercial activities for several years.

The change came into effect at the start of this week, having won the approval of the operator’s shareholders in May.

In a statement, the company said that all its products and services in more than 30 countries will henceforth be sold under the Orange brand name, with all commercial, internal and corporate communication grouped under a single brand identity.

Sprint shareholders say yes to SoftBank takeover

Shareholders in US operator Sprint have “overwhelmingly” approved SoftBank’s $21.6 billion deal to acquire a 78% stake in the company.

The yes vote smooths the way for a takeover of the third-biggest operator in the US by its counterpart in Japan.

SoftBank (Tokyo, Japan) had faced competition over a Sprint (Overland Park, KS, USA) takeover from Dish Network (Meridian, CO, USA), but the satellite TV company last week announced that it was abandoning attempts to acquire Sprint, making a decision easier for Sprint shareholders.

Verizon makes $700 bid for Canada's Wind Mobile: report

US operator Verizon Communications has made a $700 million bid for Canada’s Wind Mobile and begun acquisition talks with Mobility, another Canadian operator, according to a report from the country’s Globe and Mail newspaper.

Citing sources familiar with the situation, the Globe and Mail says Verizon (New York City, NY, USA) is also considering whether to participate in a forthcoming auction of spectrum in Canada.

MTS reaches $150 million settlement over Bitel

Russian operator MTS says it has reached a settlement worth $150 million with Altimo and Nomihold Securities over its disputed acquisition of Bitel, an operator in the Kyrgyz Republic, in 2005.

MTS (Moscow, Russia) is to receive a payment of $150 million under the settlement, which includes a figure of $125 million it has already received during the proceedings.

The dispute dates back to 2005, when MTS paid $150 million to Nomihold Securities for a 50% stake in Bitel (Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic), the largest mobile operator in the Kyrgyz Republic.

Vodafone agrees $10 billion takeover of Kabel Deutschland

Vodafone has agreed a £6.6 billion ($10.14 billion) takeover of Germany’s Kabel Deutschland aimed at bolstering its presence in the country’s broadband and TV markets.

The deal will create a company with combined revenues of €11.5 billion ($15.1 billion), as well as 32.4 million mobile, five million broadband and 7.6 million TV customers.

Three buys O2 Ireland for $1 billion to become Irish no. 2

Hutchison Whampoa-owned Three Ireland has announced a €780m ($1.02 billion) takeover of O2 Ireland that will make it the second-biggest player in the country’s mobile market and raise cash for debt-ridden Telefonica, O2’s current owner.

Three (Dublin, Ireland) says a further additional deferred payment of €70 million will be payable to Telefonica (Madrid, Spain) if certain agreed financial targets are achieved.

Dish abandons efforts to acquire Sprint

Satellite TV company Dish Network has given up its fight to acquire Sprint in the face of tough competition from Japan’s SoftBank, reports Dow Jones Newswires.

Dish (Meridian, CO, USA) is said to have made clear its intention not to continue pursuing a takeover of Sprint in a recent securities filing.

The news comes after the company last week said it would not be able to improve its offer by a Sprint-imposed deadline of June 18.

Microsoft talked with Nokia about buying devices unit - report


Microsoft Corp recently talked with Nokia about buying the Finnish phone maker's devices unit, but the discussions faltered and are not likely to be revived, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday in its online edition.

The Journal reported that "advanced discussions" on a deal happened as recently as this month, according to unnamed sources it said were familiar with the matter. Microsoft (Seattle, WA, USA) rejected a deal because of price and Nokia's (Helsinki, Finland) loss of market share to rising Asian competitors, the report said.

SoftBank closer to acquiring Sprint after Dish abandons bid for now


Japan's SoftBank Corp cleared a major hurdle in its attempt to buy U.S. wireless provider Sprint Nextel Corp, as rival bidder Dish Network Corp declined to make a new offer after SoftBank sweetened its own bid last week.

SoftBank (Tokyo, Japan) Chief Executive Masayoshi Son is now a step closer to sealing the largest overseas acquisition by a Japanese company in history, after winning support from a key shareholder by raising SoftBank's offer to $21.6 billion from $20.1 billion last week.

Vodafone raises Kabel Deutschland offer after rival bid: report


Britain's Vodafone Group Plc has raised its preliminary offer to buy Germany's largest cable operator, Kabel Deutschland Holding AG, a day after U.S. media group Liberty Global Plc made a rival bid, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday, citing people familiar with the bid.

Bloomberg reported that Vodafone (Newbury, UK) told Kabel Deutschland (Unterfoehring, Germany) this week that it would be willing to pay 85 euros a share compared with its initial offer of 80 euros to 82 euros for the German company.

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