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Oct. 2, 2015, 9:15 AM
- Orange (NYSE:ORAN), down 2.3% premarket, is in the end stages of talks to sell a 70% stake in Orange Kenya, the country's Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich says.
- The deal's coming "very soon," he says, likely before year-end. Orange had paid $390M for the stake in 2007.
- Abandoning Kenya would mean another operator getting out and leaving the country to Safaricom, part owned by Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD), which has taken advantage of its development of the M-Pesa mobile payment system.
Sep. 30, 2015, 2:07 PM
- Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VOD +2.1%) has signed deals for more than a billion Australian dollars ($700M) to migrate mobile customers of TPG Telecom (OTC:TPGTF) to its network, from previous host Optus.
- The changeover -- "one of the industry's largest ever mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) arrangements" -- means faster 4G access for TPG customers.
- The deal also has TPG supplying dark fiber and network services to 3,000 Vodafone sites, generating A$900M in revenue against a spend of A$300M-A$400M over the next few years on the project.
Sep. 29, 2015, 9:27 AM
- Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD) is up 0.9% in premarket U.S. trading after analysts reiterate their Buy calls, following the news that Vodafone and Liberty Global broke off talks about an asset swap.
- Deutsche Bank reiterated its Buy rating with a 270-pence price target; shares are flat in London trading at 207.15p, implying 30% upside in its target.
- Beaufort Securities reiterated its Buy rating as well. Later yesterday, Barclays also had reiterated its Overweight rating, with a 250-pence target.
- Vodafone ADRs fell 5.2% yesterday after the news that it was terminating talks of a tie-up with the John Malone-led media giant.
Sep. 28, 2015, 9:39 AM
- Vodafone (VOD -3.1%) and Liberty Global (LBTYA -3.7%) were among early premarket sliders in telecom today after the two broke off discussions over swapping European assets.
- The cost of insuring Vodafone's debt dropped the most in nearly four months, and bonds of Liberty Global's units fell to their own records. Virgin Media (a likely Vodafone target) saw its January 2025 bonds slip to 92.8c/euro, lowest since issuance, while Germany's Unitymedia bonds fell 5.1 cents to a record low 84.4 cents.
- Barclays reiterated its Overweight rating on the shares with a 250-pence price target. Shares are down 3.7% in London to 209.7p, implying a 19% upside in Barclays' target.
- Previously: Vodafone ends talks with Liberty Global over asset swaps (Sep. 28 2015)
Sep. 28, 2015, 2:48 AM
- Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD) says it's called off talks with Liberty Global (NASDAQ:LBTYA) over a swap of assets.
- Amid rumors of an outright merger earlier this summer, the two confirmed they were talking about swapping some European businesses, but the talks faced challenges from the outset and are over for now.
- The companies never specified which assets -- though the best fit seemed to be where they had heavy overlap: in Germany, the UK and the Netherlands. But the UK is Liberty's largest market, and Germany is Vodafone's biggest sales market, and it seemed increasingly unlikely the two would bail out of those markets.
- Liberty had long coveted Vodafone's bigger Kabel Deutschland business, while Vodafone probably was looking at Liberty's Virgin Media.
- Previously: Vodafone -2.3% as Liberty Global tie-up seems troubled (Sep. 15 2015)
- Previously: Summer's end may bring resolution for Vodafone, Liberty (Aug. 17 2015)
Sep. 22, 2015, 9:56 AM
- Speaking at a company conference (and playing defense after a new attack from rivals), BT Group (BT -2.1%) chief Gavin Patterson said the company's ultra-fast broadband service (300-500 Mbps) would be delivered to 10M premises by 2020.
- "We want to forge an ultra-fast future for Britain and stand ready to help government deliver the broadband speeds necessary for every property to enjoy modern-day Internet services, such as high definition TV streaming and cloud computing," Patterson says. "To achieve this, we need a collaborative effort across industry and government."
- The statement comes after a fresh offensive from competitors led by Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD) over splitting the wholesale Openreach business from BT.
- BT has opened a trial of its G.fast offering involving up to 4,000 premises. It plans to hit the 10M-premise target with a combination of G.fast and fiber to the premises.
- A hint of 1-Gbps service suggests the company may also bring fiber-on-demand back from the dead.
- Previously: Vodafone, rivals renew call for BT Openreach split (Sep. 21 2015)
Sep. 21, 2015, 10:38 AM
- Vodafone (VOD +0.5%) and other rivals of BT Group (BT -0.3%) have renewed their call for radical reform of the UK telecom market, including a competition investigation and a split of wholesale business Openreach from BT Group proper.
- In an open letter in the Financial Times, chiefs of Vodafone UK, Sky (OTCQX:SKYAY), TalkTalk (OTC:TKTCY) and Daisy Group claim that British regulator Ofcom has found serious problems in the ownership of the national network by BT Openreach.
- For its part, BT Group says that it continues to invest billions in Openreach and that the business is exceeding service targets set by Ofcom.
- Meanwhile, Vodafone's tie-up talks with Liberty Global (LBTYA +0.6%) are snagging over complicated tax arrangements at Liberty and its Virgin Media cable net, The Telegraph reported. The companies have discussed swapping assets, but Liberty reportedly depends on Virgin Media's billions in losses to lower its tax burden.
Sep. 18, 2015, 1:25 PM
- Antitrust regulators in Europe are set to launch a wide probe into Hutchison Whampoa's (OTCPK:HUWHY) £10.3B bid for O2, the UK mobile unit of Telefonica (TEF -4.1%) -- which likely means key concessions are coming, Reuters reports.
- The plan to merge Hutchison's Three with O2 was a long time coming, and now it's facing what looks like a sterner regulatory regime whose stance helped kill a plan to merge the Danish operations of TeliaSonera and Telenor.
- The EU's competition authority has an Oct. 16 deadline for preliminary review but is expected to follow with a full-blown investigation that should last five months.
- Proper concessions are likely to be challenging, however: Three UK shares a 3G network with market leader EE (ORAN, OTCQX:DTEGY), while Telefonica shares some towers with Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD) -- which has been vocal about ensuring competition as the UK market consolidates.
Sep. 15, 2015, 9:32 AM
- Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD) is off 2.3% amid the newly tougher regulatory scheme that likely has put a kibosh on a merger with Liberty Global (NASDAQ:LBTYA).
- A shift in approach to the hard line by European Commission competition chief Margrethe Vestager recently got TeliaSonera and Telenor to call off a merger of their Danish operators. And Liberty is offering up fresh concessions in an effort to seal its effort to buy KPN's Belgian operator Base.
- John Malone is still looking for common ground with Vodafone over some kind of tie-up, he tells Bloomberg, as those talks seem to stall. Discussions about a full merger that initially moved stocks turned to talks over an asset swap in Europe, as Vodafone insists it's not talking about the full deal.
- "Obviously there’s a price at which Liberty Global could be bought," Malone said. "I don’t believe that that’s likely for the other side to get there -- an outright purchase of the whole company. Other than that, it’s a question of could you figure out some way to live together."
- Vodafone chief Vittorio Colao should "retire" now that the merger talks have fallen apart, says telecom analyst Neil Campling of Aviate Global. Asset swaps seem unlikely in key markets the UK and Germany, he says. “While we can find reasons to invest in Liberty Global on a standalone basis, the same cannot be said for Vodafone," he says. "What's next? Vittorio, surely, will retire and head for the sunshine/ski slope. He should.”
- Meanwhile, Vodafone India has begun talks with IBM to renew a 660B-rupee ($1B) outsourcing contract that expires in June. Other vendors, including Wipro, Tata Consultancy, Infosys and Tech Mahindra, could push for the deal.
Sep. 14, 2015, 8:06 PM
- In a market recently hot with network improvement talk, Three UK (OTCPK:HUWHY) has announced its commercial launch of voice-over-LTE and the debut of its 800 MHz spectrum.
- The company's calling it "4G Super-Voice" to communicate the move to consumers, who should benefit from better indoor coverage with the user of the lower frequencies. Three's beating EE (ORAN, OTCQX:DTEGY) and Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD) to the VoLTE punch.
- Three says a million of its customers will have access by the end of the year, and that the technology already covers 50% of the UK's population for indoor coverage and more than 75% of London, Edinburgh, Exeter and Birmingham.
Sep. 14, 2015, 9:18 AM
- Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD) is off 1.8% premarket in U.S. trading after early-a.m. analyst action.
- Shares are down 1.1% in London as Nomura cut its price target to 275 pence from its previous 290 pence, while maintaining a Buy rating. Shares are trading currently at 221.46p, implying more than 30% upside.
- Meanwhile, Credit Suisse has reiterated its Outperform rating, with a target of 250 pence (12.9% upside from current trading).
- Both those targets are slightly higher than consensus, which sits just over 239 pence.
- Vodafone ADRs are down 7% over the past month.
Sep. 4, 2015, 1:44 PM
- A merger between Liberty Global (LBTYA -1%) and Vodafone (VOD -1.6%) would draw an objection from Deutsche Telekom (OTCQX:DTEGY -0.5%) over concerns about the TV market, according to the head of DT's German business.
- “We would definitely have some remedies and protests against a merger, but we also expect the authorities to have a view on that,” said Niek Jan van Damme.
- Amid rumors of a bigger tie-up, Liberty Global and Vodafone have said they're discussing asset swaps in Europe, though operations in some countries are better fits than others. The two companies' broadband businesses don't overlap and don't present a competitive problem, van Damme says.
- Deutsche Telekom, meanwhile, is exploring more content partnerships and infrastructure sharing (such as networks).
- Previously: Summer's end may bring resolution for Vodafone, Liberty (Aug. 17 2015)
- Previously: Liberty Global, Vodafone see better rules environment for swaps (Jun. 12 2015)
- Previously: Liberty Global CEO: Need mobile services to complete quad-play (Jun. 09 2015)
Sep. 1, 2015, 12:01 PM
- Ahead of the vaunted launch of Netflix (NFLX -6.3%) service in Spain next month, Vodafone Spain (VOD -1.7%) has signed a deal to become the first pay TV provider to offer Netflix in the country.
- Vodafone says it can deliver Netflix's app to subscribers without a set-top box update. Perhaps more important for subscribers, they'll have an integrated search engine for programming on Vodafone's service, and Netflix offerings will be part of the recommendations section.
- Netflix has been stacking up deals with (smaller) pay TV providers, including Cogeco's Atlantic Broadband earlier this summer, Cable One, Mediacom, Suddenlink and Grande Communications.
- Previously: Netflix sets October for delayed launch in Spain (Jun. 03 2015)
- Previously: Netflix eyes tough market in Spain (Mar. 08 2015)
Aug. 28, 2015, 10:07 AM
- Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD) has confirmed its plan to launch 4G service in India by year's end, joining a hot space after Bharti Airtel and Reliance Industries pressed their own 4G rollouts.
- Vodafone has successfully begun tests, it says, and that Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Bengaluru and Kochi -- "important data markets" -- would be part of the first wave.
- With Airtel as the first mover, launching 4G service in about 300 cities and towns, and Reliance Jio to launch in December with a 1T-rupee investment ($16B), analysts warned of a round of price wars.
- JPMorgan noted that along with the effect of price cuts, Reliance's re-entry of the market is affecting capex at rivals.
Aug. 26, 2015, 3:36 PM
- Turkey's once-postponed auction of 4G airwaves did better than expected, drawing €3.96B (about $4.5B) in bids from Turkey's three operators: Vodafone (VOD +2.5%), Turkcell (TKC +4.6%) and Avea (OTC:TRKNY).
- The original tender had been postponed in May as president Recep Tayyip Erdogan pressed for a cancellation, and for the country to skip a generation and try to upgrade infrastructure to 5G. But that technology isn't fully defined yet, and any commercial rollouts aren't likely before 2020.
- The auction performed well in a market that features a young, data-hungry population, says analyst Jonathan Friedman: "Beyond recent political instability, Turkey is a large market with nearly 80 million consumers, and investors want to be a part of that."
- The bids received today are subject to a final approval process before frequencies are allocated.
Aug. 21, 2015, 12:54 PM
- Vodafone (VOD -2.8%) has pulled out of a six-company competition to take over Lebanon's two mobile operators.
- The government's two mobile firms, Touch and Alfa, were being run by Zain and Orascom Telecom Media and Technology, though the two companies' management contracts expired two years ago.
- Vodafone's pulling out leaves five others competing: Zain, Orange (ORAN -0.2%), Maxis, Turkcell (TKC -1.9%) and a unit of Deutsche Telekom (OTCQX:DTEGY), as OTMT didn't submit a bid application on time.
Vodafone Group PLC is engaged in providing voice and data communications services for all types of customers. The Company has presence in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, the Asia Pacific region and the United States.
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