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  • Tue, Nov. 15, 12:25 PM
    • Viacom (VIA -0.9%, VIAB -0.9%) has a deal to acquire Argentina's Television Federal from Telefonica (TEF -3.7%), for $345M.
    • The deal's all cash. Reports from two weeks ago had the two talking about a deal in the range of $385M.
    • Viacom gets an "outstanding broadcast and production business" in the deal, says acting CEO Bob Bakish, who came up through the company's international ranks.
    • Telefe hits 95% of households in Argentina, which has a population of 43M, and has a 33% viewership share. It also makes more than 3,000 hours of Spanish-language content each year.
    | Tue, Nov. 15, 12:25 PM | 2 Comments
  • Thu, Nov. 3, 10:42 AM
    | Thu, Nov. 3, 10:42 AM
  • Wed, Sep. 28, 7:30 PM
    • Time Warner (TWX +0.9%) and Viacom (VIA +2.7%, VIAB +3.1%) could get a bigger foothold in Latin America as each considers bidding for Telefonica's (TEF +1.5%) Argentine broadcaster Telefe, The Wall Street Journal reports.
    • A deal process that's been ongoing for months could culminate in a $400M transaction. Offers are expected within days, with Telefonica making a decision on the deal in October, sources told the WSJ.
    • Time Warner already operates a number of channels in Latin America and HBO has a division in the region; its Turner unit has been called the front-runner for the deal.
    • Meanwhile, while Viacom is under a heavy debt load, the company thinks a deal could make sense because of Telefe's cash flows.
    • Previously: Viacom jumps to gain on report Redstone's firm to urge CBS re-merger (Sep. 28 2016)
    | Wed, Sep. 28, 7:30 PM | 4 Comments
  • Fri, Jun. 24, 3:30 PM
    • The UK's vote to leave the EU is slamming European media/telecom firms today -- Liberty Global (NASDAQ:LBTYA) is down 12.5%, Telecom Italia (NYSE:TI) has shed 19.8%, Telefonica (NYSE:TEF) has dropped 17.6%, BT Group (NYSE:BT) has fallen 18.2% and others have tumbled at least 5% -- but it could have the effect of kiboshing some cued-up M&A, Jefferies says.
    • A much-discussed potential merger between Liberty Global and Vodafone (VOD -6.8%) could get complicated in an already tough antitrust review environment, the firm says.
    • "To the extent that Vodafone is no longer perceived by the EU as a 'European champion' asset to be strengthened as a matter of industrial policy, any prospective acquisition of Liberty Global might receive tougher antitrust scrutiny at the EU level and from Germany," Jefferies writes.
    • Still, Liberty Global is suffering unnecessarily today, the firm suggests -- mainly the "technicality of currency translation" against a noncyclical fundamental business character.
    | Fri, Jun. 24, 3:30 PM | 3 Comments
  • Fri, May 27, 10:39 AM
    • After a failed sale of its O2 wireless carrier in the UK to Hutchison (OTCPK:HUWHY), Telefonica (TEF -0.4%) is now favoring keeping the unit in-house, Bloomberg reports.
    • The company needs to reduce debt but is reportedly coming to the conclusion that it's better off with O2 than without, and will look for other ways to deleverage (which could include an IPO for at least part of O2).
    • A long-in-the-making £10.3B deal to merge O2 with Hutchison's Three UK was blocked by the European Commission earlier this month for competitive reasons. Before that, Chairman Jose Maria Alvarez-Pallete had said if Telefonica was still drawing earnings from O2, it wouldn't need to raise as much as what it aimed for in a sales process.
    | Fri, May 27, 10:39 AM
  • Fri, May 13, 3:30 PM
    • Hutchison (OTCPK:HUWHY) is facing long odds in appealing the EC's decision to block the merger of its Three UK mobile provider with O2 (TEF -0.7%).
    • “I think that the chances of a successful appeal are small – the European Commission has done a thorough job and will have plenty of material to justify its decision," a telecom/M&A lawyer tells CTFN.
    • Even if it were to be successful, an appeal would take at least a year -- and Telefonica may likely go with another suitor, like Liberty Global (LBTYA -1.1%).
    • European tie-ups are being closely watched as the EC has taken a tougher stance on deals under the leadership of Margrethe Vestager. Last year, Sweden's TeliaSonera and Norway's Telenor called off a merger of their Danish operations amid the opposition of Vestager's EC.
    • Now read Telefonica Dividend Reliant On EU Politics Following Mixed Q4 2015 Results »
    | Fri, May 13, 3:30 PM
  • Thu, May 12, 3:07 PM
    | Thu, May 12, 3:07 PM
  • Wed, May 11, 8:13 AM
    • EU antitrust regulators have blocked Hutchison's (OTCPK:HUWHY) planned £10.3B ($14.9B) acquisition of O2 from Telefonica (NYSE:TEF), saying the deal would have led to higher mobile phone prices in Britain.
    • "We will study the commission's decision in detail and will be considering our options, including the possibility of a legal challenge," Hutchison said in a statement.
    • Today's decision also raises the bar for Hutchison's planned combination in Italy with Vimpelcom, which is the subject of a full-scale EU investigation.
    | Wed, May 11, 8:13 AM
  • Tue, May 3, 7:27 AM
    • The European Commission is set to torpedo Hutchison's (OTCPK:HUWHY) planned multibillion-dollar takeover of Telefonica's (NYSE:TEF) British cellphone operator O2, WSJ reports.
    • The move comes after the companies failed to assuage the regulator's concerns the deal would lead to higher prices and less choice for U.K. consumers.
    | Tue, May 3, 7:27 AM
  • Mon, Apr. 25, 12:46 PM
    • The European Commission is set to block the £10.3B (about $14.9B) purchase of O2 (TEF -0.7%) by Hutchison (OTCPK:HUWHY), a deal that would have created the UK's biggest wireless carrier, Reuters reports.
    • The deal would have merged Telefonica's O2, the No. 2 provider in the country, with Hutchison's Three UK, the fourth-largest. But the result would have been the top carrier and reduced the market to three competitors, facts that came to bear for Margrethe Vestager, head of the EC's Competition Commission.
    • Tricky concessions offered by the two, including divestments, weren't enough to address fears, sources said.
    • Last week as prospects for the deal seemed to dim, Telefonica acknowledged it was looking at a few alternate plans to try to cut a debt pile that amounts to more than $56B.
    • Now read Telefonica Dividend Reliant On EU Politics Following Mixed Q4 2015 Results »
    | Mon, Apr. 25, 12:46 PM
  • Tue, Apr. 19, 12:39 PM
    • With a sale of its UK mobile unit O2 to Hutchison (OTCPK:HUWHY) at risk, Telefonica (TEF +3%) is now considering a few "plans B" to reduce heavy debt.
    • That includes trying to merge O2 with another company with mobile interests, like Liberty Global (NASDAQ:LBTYA) or a private-equity buyer, or even spinning it into a British IPO, Bloomberg reports.
    • A deal of about £10.3B ($14.6B) to combine O2 with Hutchison's Three UK would go a long way toward cutting €49.9B ($56.5B) in debt. And Telefonica still prefers that as the "cleanest" option to reduce investor uncertainty.
    • The deal's at risk while Hutchison considers even more concessions, as the EC reportedly prefers the creation of a fourth operator in the UK out of the transaction, rather than simply reinforcing smaller MVNOs. Hutchison may be prepared to go to court instead, saying unloading a (changed) O2 or Three to someone else undermines the rationale for the combination.
    • Now read Telefonica Dividend Reliant On EU Politics Following Mixed Q4 2015 Results »
    | Tue, Apr. 19, 12:39 PM
  • Mon, Apr. 11, 10:05 AM
    • UK regulators are taking a hard line on the proposed merger between telecoms Three UK (OTCPK:HUWHY) and O2 (TEF +1%), expressing serious concerns to European watchdogs about what a combo might mean to the UK market.
    • The UK Competition and Markets Authority's chief executive Alex Chisholm has told Margrethe Vestager, head of the EC's Competition Commission, that the merger is likely to lead to higher prices, lower quality or both.
    • Today the CMA suggested that either Three's or O2's mobile network business be divested completely or for the companies to allow for carve-outs.
    • Hutchison's proposal to merge its No. 4 provider with O2, the country's No. 2, would create the UK's largest carrier and reduce the market to three competitors. The UK asked to take over the deal investigation, but in December, the EC (which had opened a full probe) rejected that request.
    • In early March, Hutchison headed into closed-door meetings with the EC to discuss how to make the deal happen.
    • Now read Telefonica Dividend Reliant On EU Politics Following Mixed Q4 2015 Results »
    | Mon, Apr. 11, 10:05 AM | 1 Comment
  • Tue, Mar. 1, 4:58 PM
    • Hutchison (OTCPK:HUWHY) is headed to a closed-door meeting with EU regulators to address objections to its £10.3B deal to buy out rival telecom O2 (TEF +4.3%), Reuters reports.
    • The company will meet with the European Commission on March 7, along with rivals Sky (OTCQX:SKYAY +2.4%), Virgin Media (LBTYA +2.8%), TalkTalk (OTC:TKTCY), Vodafone (VOD +3.1%) and BT Group (BT +3.4%). Iliad (OTCPK:ILIAY +2.5%), the small provider owned by French billionaire Xavier Niel, could also take part.
    • The long-in-the-works deal has generated plenty of heat, as the combination of Hutchison's Three UK (the country's No. 4 wireless provider) with Telefonica's O2 (the No. 2 provider) would create the country's largest, reducing the market to three major competitors.
    • When the EC opened a full probe into the deal in October, the move suggested that heavy concessions were likely on the way to make the deal happen -- and they may include creating a smaller competitor. (TalkTalk has said it would love to help.)
    • The UK tried to take over the probe, but the EC rejected that request and kept control of the deal investigation in early December.
    • After hours: TEF -4.2%; LBTYA, VOD, BT flat.
    • Previously: Europe rejects UK's effort to examine Three's O2 buyout (Dec. 04 2015)
    • Previously: Europe opens full probe into Telefonica-Hutchison UK mobile merger (Oct. 30 2015)
    | Tue, Mar. 1, 4:58 PM
  • Fri, Jan. 15, 7:18 PM
    • Telefonica (TEF -3.5%) is expressing interest in buying Latin American assets from AT&T (T -0.9%) that could come to $10B in value, Reuters reports.
    • AT&T acquired the pay TV assets in its acquisition of DirecTV last year, and CEO Randall Stephenson said in December that the company would consider selling them but was in "no rush" and would be patient.
    • A source told Reuters that other parties were interested in specific country assets -- AT&T acquired services in Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela and Argentina among other countries -- so AT&T could run multiple sale processes and deal with a company like Liberty Global (LBTYA -4.7%).
    • Meanwhile, Telefonica has been making portfolio changes but against some €50B in debt (about $54B). It's looking to sell Spanish infrastructure and agreed to sell its O2 business in the UK to CK Hutchison holdings for $15B.
    | Fri, Jan. 15, 7:18 PM | 4 Comments
  • Dec. 4, 2015, 11:33 AM
    • The European Commission has rejected the UK's request to examine the combination of Three UK and O2, proposed to create Britain's biggest mobile operator.
    • UK antitrust authorities had argued they were in a better position to probe Hutchison Whampoa's (OTCPK:HUWHY) £10.3B bid to combine its Three unit with Telefonica's (TEF -1.2%) O2.
    • "The Commission concluded that, given its extensive experience in assessing cases in this sector, it was better placed to deal with the transaction and ensure consistency in the application of merger control rules in the mobile telecommunications sectors across the European Economic Area," said an EC official.
    • Previously: UK delays spectrum auction to allow for Three/O2 merger (Dec. 03 2015)
    | Dec. 4, 2015, 11:33 AM
  • Oct. 30, 2015, 2:44 PM
    • As signaled previously, the European Commission is opening a full probe into Hutchison Whampoa's (OTCPK:HUWHY) £10.3B bid for O2, the UK wireless division of Telefonica (NYSE:TEF).
    • The move likely means concessions are on the way in the long-simmering deal, though they may be complicated. The combination of O2 with Hutchison's Three UK would make Britain's biggest mobile network operator out of the second- and fourth-biggest respectively.
    • Antitrust Commissioner Margrethe Vestager says with the probe that "we want to ensure that consumers in the U.K. do not pay higher prices or face less choice as a result of this proposed takeover." Vestager has shown a harder line than her predecessor, which led to Telenor and TeliaSonera calling off a plan to merge Danish operations.
    • The full review may last about five months.
    • Previously: Reuters: Europe set for long antitrust review of UK mobile merger (Sep. 18 2015)
    | Oct. 30, 2015, 2:44 PM