Thu, Jan. 22, 5:20 PM
- The FT reports Telefonica (NYSE:TEF) is "poised to agree a cash deal of more than £10bn ($15B)" to sell British mobile carrier O2 to Hutchison Whampoa, owner of rival carrier Three. A deal could be announced "as early as Friday morning."
- The paper notes the deal would create the U.K.'s largest mobile carrier, claiming 31M+ subs and a 41% market share. EE, which BT is in talks to acquire from Orange (NYSE:ORAN) and Deutsche Telekom (OTCQX:DTEGY), claims a 32% share, and Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD) a 24% share.
- U.K. telecom regulator is bound to closely scrutinize a sale, given its historical preference for wanting four mobile carriers and Three's history of aggressive pricing.
- Telefonica/Hutchison reportedly are looking to argue BT, which (like Vodafone) is looking to offer quad-play bundles, is "already changing the boundaries of how telecoms should be judged alongside TV and broadband services." The FT states regulators are likely to push for O2/Three to sell some of its spectrum for use by MVNOs such as TalkTalk, Tesco Mobile, and Virgin Media.
- TEF +0.6% AH. An O2 sale would further Telefonica's efforts to lower its huge debt load. The carrier's net debt stood at €41.2B ($46.8B) as of September.
- Previously: Hutchison in talks for O2 mobile network
- Update: Hutchison says it's in "exclusive talks" to buy O2 from Telefonica for over £10B. Telefonica has confirmed.
Mon, Jan. 5, 9:57 AM
- With Greece and oil-related fears once more taking a toll, The Euro Stoxx 50 is down 2.1%, and many continental indices posting ~2% declines. U.S.-traded European tech and telecom names are performing much the same way.
- Tech decliners: NOK -4.2%. ALU -3.3%. SAP -2.9%. STM -2%.
- Telecom decliners: VOD -2.4%. TEF -4%. ORAN -3.6%. TI -2.2%. PT -6%.
Dec. 18, 2014, 7:58 AM
- BT (NYSE:BT) is preparing a giant financing package including a £2B share placing to help fund its planned takeover of EE, The Telegraph reports.
- The share placing will help keep the telecom giant’s level of debt manageable as it faces big bills next year from an increase in pension payments and costs.
- Several of BT’s top ten investors have said they would support a share placing or rights issue to help finance the deal, worth a total of £12.5B, including £2B of EE debt.
- BT is also expected to raise around £3B in the bond markets to help win the support of existing shareholders who may be resistant to any greater dilution.
Dec. 16, 2014, 9:10 AM
Dec. 15, 2014, 12:27 PM
- BT (BT +0.2%) has entered into exclusive buyout talks with Orange (ORAN -0.9%) and Deutsche Telekom (OTCQX:DTEGY) regarding the purchase of their EE U.K. mobile JV. The exclusivity period will last several weeks, during which time BT will conduct due diligence.
- The companies are discussing a deal in which BT would pay £12.5B ($19.5B) in cash and stock to acquire EE, which claims 24.5M mobile subs (#1 in the U.K.). Deutsche would gain a 12% stake in BT, and have the right to appoint one director. Orange would have a 4% stake.
- BT and Orange have been halted. Telefonica (TEF -2.3%), which was talking with BT about selling U.K. carrier O2, has joined many other European names in selling off. Deutsche fell 1.8% today in Frankfurt.
Dec. 12, 2014, 3:16 AM
- The battle to sell BT (NYSE:BT) a mobile operator is heating up, after the chairman of O2's Spanish owner, Telefonica (NYSE:TEF), flew to London yesterday on word that rival EE was willing to offer more attractive terms to seal a deal.
- "You can reasonably expect an announcement to be made by early next week, maybe as soon as this Friday," a source tells Reuters.
- BT has been in talks with Telefonica and EE's owners, Deutsche Telekom (OTCQX:DTEGY) and Orange (NYSE:ORAN) for nearly a month about a deal to buy one of the mobile operators.
- Previously: Report: BT opts for deal with O2, spurns EE
Dec. 10, 2014, 10:00 AM
- The U.K.'s This is Money reports BT (BT +0.5%) is "poised to strike" a deal to buy Telefonica's (TEF -0.4%) O2 unit, and that an announcement could be made as early as this week.
- BT has shown interest in both O2 and Orange (ORAN -0.9%)/Deutsche Telekom's (OTCQX:DTEGY) EE JV, as the carrier tries to fully re-enter the U.K. mobile market (it already owns an MVNO) and offer quad-play bundles. O2 (has 24M customers) is believed to be a less costly M&A target than EE (27M customers).
- Orange CEO Stephane Richard has said he expects BT to make a decision on which carrier to bid for before Christmas.
Dec. 4, 2014, 10:36 AM
- Citing greater optimism about the carrier's French mobile and wireline ops, Credit Suisse has upgraded Orange (ORAN +1.9%) to Neutral, and hiked its target by €5 to €16 ($19.84). Shares are higher in spite of a selloff in European equities.
- Meanwhile, Reuters reports EU regulators are "likely to expand their scrutiny" of Orange's planned $4.2B acquisition of Spanish broadband provider Jazztel, thereby pressuring the companies to make concessions. The Jazztel deal came on the heels of mobile rival Vodafone's purchase of Spanish cable giant ONO,
- Also: Reuters quotes CEO Stephane Richard as suggesting BT will decide "a few days before Christmas" whether to bid for Orange and Deutsche Telekom's EE JV, or for Telefonica's O2. "BT has its own calendar."
Nov. 28, 2014, 1:56 AM
- Hutchison Whampoa (OTCPK:HUWHY), the owner of Britain's fourth largest mobile operator 3 Group, is now entering the race for either O2 (NYSE:TEF) or EE, the U.K.'s number one and two wireless carriers.
- The move sparks the prospect of a bidding war, as Deutsche Telekom (OTCQX:DTEGY) and Orange (NYSE:ORAN) confirmed on Wedneday that they were in talks to sell EE to BT (NYSE:BT).
- Hutchison could put forward a bid for either EE or O2 by the end of the year.
- Previously: Deutsche Telekom, Orange confirm EE sale talks
Nov. 26, 2014, 3:59 AM
- Deutsche Telekom (OTCQX:DTEGY) and Orange (NYSE:ORAN) have confirmed that they are in talks to sell their U.K. wireless carrier EE to BT (NYSE:BT), in a move that could combine the U.K.’s biggest fixed-line operator and largest mobile operator.
- The news comes after Monday's report that BT was in talks to buy EE or Telefonica’s (NYSE:TEF) U.K. mobile business O2.
- EE was valued at about $19B by its co-owners in October.
Nov. 24, 2014, 9:29 AM
- Nearly a decade after it sold U.K. mobile carrier O2 to Telefonica (NYSE:TEF), BT is thinking of either buying back O2 or acquiring rival EE from Orange (NYSE:ORAN) and Deutsche Telekom (OTCQX:DTEGY), the FT reports. Spain's El Confidencial reports Telefonica could sell O2 in exchange for a 20% stake in BT.
- BT owns 4G spectrum, and already offers MVNO services through a deal with EE. EE and Vodafone are hatching plans to encroach on BT's turf by offering quad-play bundles. Engadget notes acquiring a mobile carrier make BT the only carrier with "full control over its home phone, broadband, mobile and TV services."
- BT has confirmed it has "received expressions of interest from shareholders in two UK mobile network operators, of which one is O2, about a possible transaction in which BT would acquire their UK mobile business." Orange CEO Stephane Richard recently stated EE's 50/50 ownership structure was unlikely to last.
- BT +3.3% premarket. TEF +1.5%.
Nov. 21, 2014, 12:02 PM
- "The 50-50 situation isn't a long-term scheme," says Orange (NYSE:ORAN) CEO Stephane Richard about his company's Everything Everywhere U.K. mobile JV with Deutsche Telekom (OTCQX:DTEGY). He adds "all options are open," but cautions investors not to "expect anything spectacular in the short-term."
- Bloomberg reported in October Orange and Deutsche were open to an EE sale, while adding an IPO was still "the most likely outcome" for the JV.
- With price competition remaining fierce and rivals narrowing EE's 4G coverage lead, the carrier saw its subscriber base (still the U.K.'s largest) fall by 2% Y/Y in Q3 to 24.5M. Both EE and rivals are now investing in offering triple-play packages.
- Orange has rallied on a good day for European equities. France's CAC 40 index is up 2.7%.
Nov. 11, 2014, 3:32 PM
- Orange (ORAN +3.9%) and Telefonica (TEF +2%) are higher in U.S. trading after Vodafone reported a smaller-than-expected calendar Q3 service revenue decline and upped its FY15 (ends March '15) EBITDA guidance. Over in Frankfurt, Deutsche Telekom (OTCQX:DTEGY) rose 2.2%.
- Though improved from Q2's 7.9% decline, Vodafone's European service revenue still fell 5% Y/Y in Q3. European mobile service revenue fell 5.6% (improved from Q2's 9% drop), as price pressure and voice/SMS revenue declines continue taking a toll.
Oct. 23, 2014, 2:02 PM
- Orange's (NYSE:ORAN) Q3 revenue fell 2.3% Y/Y on a comparable basis to €9.805B ($12.35B), but beat a Bloomberg consensus of €9.71B. EBITDA fell 3.6% to €3.25B ($4.1B), and was slightly below a €3.27B consensus.
- Segment Revenue (on a comparable basis): France -3.1% Y/Y to €4.83B; Spain -6.1% to €977M; Poland -3.6% to €730M; Rest of World -0.4% to €1.81B; Enterprise -1.7% to €1.53B; International Carriers & Shared Services +3.5% to €476M.
- Orange ended Q3 with 239.5M customers globally (+3% Y/Y), of which 182.1M were mobile subs (+6.2% on a comparable basis) and 15.8M were wireline broadband subs. French mobile customers rose 1.5% to 27.2M, with contract customers rising 5.5% to 21.6M. The EE U.K. JV saw customers drop 2% to 24.5M.
- Full-year guidance for "restated EBITDA" of €12B-€12.5B is reiterated. Restated EBITDA is "expected to remain stable" Y/Y.
- Earnings Release (.pdf)
Oct. 16, 2014, 12:47 PM
- Though still calling an IPO "the most likely outcome" for the business, Bloomberg reports Orange (ORAN -2.9%) and Deutsche Telekom (OTCQX:DTEGY) have revived sale plans for top U.K. mobile carrier EE. One source values EE at €15B ($19B).
- Orange is said to be open to a sale of the JV "if it finds another M&A project." Last month, the French carrier made a $4.4B bid for triple-play Spanish wireline service provider Jazztel; Jazztel wants a higher offer.
- Orange and DT were reported in June to be open to an EE IPO. EE recently announced it would begin offering TV services to go with its mobile, landline, and broadband offerings. Revenue fell 2.5% Y/Y in Q2 thanks to prepaid mobile sub losses.
- Earlier: European telcos fall hard amid fresh Greek woes
Oct. 16, 2014, 10:09 AM
- New worries about the health of Greece's troubled banks have contributed to a selloff in European markets, one that has taken a toll on the continent's debt-laden telcos. The ECB is reportedly mulling a funding package for Greek banks.
- Decliners: VOD -3.1%. TEF -4.2%. ORAN -4.5%. TI -6.5%. PT -3.9%.
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