Mon, Apr. 27, 11:18 AM
- Halfway through a massive investment in its network infrastructure, Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD) may have found the European market shifting around it, leaving it to play catch-up to rivals, Thao Hua notes.
- The company's £19B ($29B) "Project Spring" plan -- in part funded by selling its stake in Verizon Wireless -- aims to shore up fiber infrastructure in Europe and developing countries. But while it's spent years building Europe's largest mobile network, rivals like Orange (NYSE:ORAN) and Telefonica (NYSE:TEF) have outpaced it in bundling mobile with fixed-line telecom, Internet and TV.
- Raymond James notes a combination with Liberty Global (NASDAQ:LBTYA) would scale up fixed-line assets in Europe -- including the U.K., where Vodafone faces two competitors getting bigger through merger (BT-EE; O2-Hutchison Whampoa) -- but Vodafone is scrambling to digest the acquisitions it's already made.
- Revenues have been slipping and competitive pressure means the payoff for investors may be getting further away.
Thu, Mar. 26, 7:56 AM
- Telefonica Brasil (NYSE:VIV) plans to raise up to $4B in fresh capital through a rights issue - that will could be announced as early as today - to buy local broadband provider GVT, Reuters reports.
- Brazil's anti-trust watchdog Cade gave Telefonica Brasil the go-ahead for the €7.2B ($7.8B) acquisition yesterday, but said the deal is dependent on certain conditions being met.
- These include the sale of Spanish parent company Telefonica's (NYSE:TEF) stake in Telecom Italia (NYSE:TI), which owns rival Brazilian mobile operator Tim Participacoes (NYSE:TSU).
Tue, Mar. 24, 1:38 PM
- Telefonica (TEF +1%) has announced it's selling U.K. mobile carrier O2 to rival Hutchison Whampoa (OTCPK:HUWHY). Telefonica will receive £9.25B ($13.84B) in cash up-front, and could receive up to £1B ($1.49B) later if O2 and Hutchison's Three U.K. unit hit cash flow targets post-merger. The FT reported yesterday a £10.5B ($15.7B) deal was close.
- The deal follows Telefonica's $12B 2014 acquisition of German rival E-Plus, and comes as the company gets set to acquire Brazilian wireline carrier GVT for $8.05B. It stands to lower a net debt load that totaled €45.1B ($49.2B) as of December.
Mon, Mar. 23, 7:06 PM
- The long road to Hutchison Whampoa's (OTCPK:HUWHY) £10.5B ($15.7B) purchase of British wireless firm O2 (NYSE:TEF) is close to its end, and a deal could be announced Tuesday morning, the Financial Times reports.
- A merger of O2 with Hutchison's Three will turn UK mobile into a three-party race, divided between the new entity, Vodafone and leader EE. It'll draw regulatory attention, but similar European deals have been approved in other countries.
- Hutchison is likely to get outside financing help, selling about 30% of the group to investors, possibly from Qatar, Singapore or Canada.
- Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD) -- which raised competitive concerns about BT Group's acquisition of EE -- will also express concern about this tie-up, as it has a network-sharing agreement with O2.
- Previously: BT wraps £12.5B deal to buy Britain's largest mobile firm (Feb. 04 2015)
- Previously: FT: Telefonica set to sell O2 to Hutchison for $15B+ (updated) (Jan. 22 2015)
Fri, Mar. 20, 4:46 PM
- Telefonica (NYSE:TEF) has waived the voting rights attached to its 14.8% Telecom Italia (NYSE:TI) stake after Brazilian telecom regulator Anatel demanded it do so in return for clearing Telefonica's €7.45B ($8.05B) purchase of Vivnedi's GVT Brazilian wireline unit.
- As it is, Telefonica (controls Brazilian mobile carrier Vivo) has said it will use its stake in TI (controls rival Brazilian carrier TIM Participacoes) to help pay for GVT. Meanwhile, TI's pursuit of a merger between TIM and Oi (another rival) has been put on ice for now.
- Reuters adds Telefonica has lined up €3B ($3.2B) in financing from 9 banks to help finance the GVT deal. The TI stake is worth a similar amount.
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.
Sun, Jan. 18, 11:14 AM
- Hutchison Whampoa (OTCPK:HUWHY), the owner of Britain's fourth largest mobile operator 3 Group, is in early stage discussions with Telefonica (NYSE:TEF) about buying its O2 network for as high as £9B ($13.6B), the Sunday Times reports.
- O2, acquired by Telefonica nearly a decade ago, is the second largest carrier in the British mobile market with about 22M subscribers.
- A deal would mark the latest consolidation in the European telecoms industry. Last month BT signed a preliminary £12.5B to acquire EE.
- Previously: Bidding war for U.K. mobile firms now possibility (Nov. 28 2014)
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. 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, 1:53 PM
- Bloomberg reports Oi (OIBR -2.6%), America Movil's (AMX -2.7%) Claro, and Telefonica's (TEF -0.7%) Vivo (VIV +2.8%) plan to jointly offer $15B for Brazilian rival TIM Participacoes (TSU +11.6%).
- TIM has soared on the report, which comes shortly after Oi struck a deal to unload its Portuguese ops for $9.1B. TIM's market cap is now at $12.1B; parent Telecom Italia (TI +1.2%) has risen modestly.
- A Brazilian paper reported in October Oi, Claro, and Vivo were interested in acquiring and breaking up TIM to consolidate a mobile market facing slowing growth and tough price pressure.
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.
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%.
Oct. 31, 2014, 10:14 AM
- Brazilian paper Folha de S. Paulo reports America Movil (AMX +1.6%), Telefonica's (TEF +1.2%) Vivo (VIV +4.9%), and Oi (OIBR +12.3%) have agreed in principle to pay R$31.5B ($13.1B) to acquire and break up TIM Participacoes (TSU +8.6%), Telecom Italia's (TI +2.9%) Brazilian unit.
- The paper adds a formal offer will be made to TI shareholders. TI chairman Giuseppe Recchi says his firm hasn't yet received an offer. TIM's market cap is currently at $12.5B.
- AMX would reportedly keep 40% of TIM, Telefonica 32%, and Oi 28%. Rumors of a joint bid have been around for weeks, as Brazilian carriers dealing with slowing growth and price wars bet consolidation will improve their fortunes.
- Markets are responding well to the report. Oi merger partner Portugal Telecom (PT +8.9%), whose main asset is a stake in the combined company, is also rallying.
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