Financial

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

Reuters

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

Reuters

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

Reuters

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.

New CEO begins Alcatel makeover

Reuters

Telecom equipment maker Alcatel-Lucent will focus on its high-growth fixed and mobile products and slim down via 1 billion euro in cost cuts by 2015 in a bid to reverse years of losses.

The new plan unveiled on Wednesday by Michel Combes, the company's new chief executive, will also include unspecified asset sales of above 1 billion and 2 billion euros in debt re-financing by 2015, followed by a further 2 billion in debt reduction that could include issuing new shares.

Hungary's operators say taxes threaten broadband development

Hungary’s operators have lashed out at moves by the country’s government to impose yet another tax on the telecoms industry, according to a report from Dow Jones Newswires.

Earlier this week, authorities served notice of plans to introduce a new telecoms-specific tax they say cannot be passed on to consumers.

Set to come into force on August 1, the new rules would require operators to pay a tax on phone calls by business customers of HUF3 ($0.014) per minute, up from a current per-minute rate of HUF2 per minute.

France Tel's Richard wins board backing to continue in role

Stephane Richard will continue in his role as chief executive of France Telecom-Orange after winning a vote of confidence from the operator’s board members on Monday.

Richard has been charged with fraud relating to his time at France’s finance ministry five years ago.

Uncertainty over his future at France Telecom (Paris, France) had grown after France’s government, which owns a 27% stake in the operator, said the board would need to consider his position in light of the alleged offences.

Telefonica denies interest from AT&T: report

Spain’s Telefonica has said it has not received an expression of interest from AT&T after the country’s government was reported to have blocked a substantial bid from the US operator, according to Reuters.

Reports from Spanish newspaper El Mundo had earlier indicated that an AT&T (Dallas, TX, USA) representative had spoken to Spain’s government about making a €70 billion ($93.3 billion) offer for Telefonica (Madrid, Spain), prompting authorities to halt the sale of what they consider a strategically important asset.

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