Europe News

A summary of industry news from the Old Continent

Spain: Virgin Group to buy Yoigo?

Virgin Group appears interested in acquiring #4 Spanish mobile network operator Yoigo, part of the Swedish group TeliaSonera. According to El Economista, Virgin Group is looking at entering the Spanish market, however they haven’t commented on this possible deal.

Spain: European Commission approves Orange-Jazztel deal

The European Commission has approved the acquisition of broadband company Jazztel by the Orange Group. The deal has been valued at approximately US$3.7bn (€3.4bn) by the Comision Nacional del Mercado de Valores (CNMV).

Spain: Cellnex considers bond issuance

Reuters reports that Cellnex are considering riding the wave of their recent successful IPO by issuing €500-700mn in bonds aimed at institutional investors.

Spain: Movistar and Yoigo fined for network sharing deal

Movistar and Yoigo are likely to be fined by the competition watchdog Comision Nacional de los Mercados y la Competencia (CNMC) in light of a network sharing deal they inked in 2013. The deal would allow Movistar to offer 4G services by using Yoigo’s LTE network.

Italy: Inwit’s planned IPO. Could Inwit and Cellnex merge?

Back in March, Telecom Italia transferred to Infrastrutture Wireless Italiane (Inwit) a business unit comprising 11,519 towers. In a recent interview with the Financial Times, Telecom Italia’s CEO, Marco Patuano, stated that there are “several options on the table” for Inwit, including the possible merger with Cellnex, the towerco created by Spanish Abertis. In the meantime, Telecom Italia has launched an IPO for a 40% stake in Inwit.

Italy: Inwit sets share price at €3.50-3.65

Inwit has narrowed the price range of their forthcoming IPO from €3.25-3.90 per share to €3.50-3.65. Reportedly all the books are already covered.

Italy: Vivendi gains 8.3% stake in Telecom Italia

As part of the deal for the sale of Brazil’s GVT to Telefónica, Vivendi will gain a stake of 8.3% in Telecom Italia.

Italy: Telecom Italia plans 4G customer base expansion

Telecom Italia is planning to double their 4G customer base up to four million by the end of 2015, Marco Patuano said in an interview with Il Sole 24 Ore.

Italy: Wind and 3 closer to a merger

News outlets report that Hutchison and VimpelCom could be close to reaching an agreement for their merger and that the deal could be announced within Q3 2015. According to Bloomberg, Maximo Ibarra, CEO of Wind Telecomunicazioni, would become the leader of the new organisation while Vincenzo Novari, CEO of Hutchison’s 3 Italia, would get a seat on the board and take over a supervisory role.

Portugal: Altice completes acquIsition of PT Portugal 

Altice has completed the purchase of PT Portugal from Brazilian’s Oi SA for an estimated US$8.3bn (€7.4bn). The European Commission gave a green light to the deal under the condition of Altice’s divestment of its Portuguese business, Onitelecom (Oni) and Cabovisão.

Germany: The first 700MHz auction in Europe

Germany is the first European country to put spectrum in the 700MHz band up for sale. Bidders include the country’s three incumbent operators, Telefonica Deutschland, Telekom Deutschland and Vodafone Germany. The process is likely to take several more days to complete but bids reached US$2.04bn (€1.866bn) in the first three days of auction.

Germany: Vodafone invests US$4.4bn in network upgrade programme

Vodafone Germany’s network has been undergoing a major upgrade and the company has so far invested US$4.4bn (€4bn) in its infrastructure modernisation programme. According to Telegeography, around 85% of all large cities, as well as over half of all stadiums, airports, subways and ICE stations, and 84% of all highways routes, are now able to benefit from Vodafone’s upgraded mobile network.

Germany: Telefonica Deutschland’s LTE customer base keeps growing

LTE subscribers of Telefonica Deutschland increased from 3.098mn at the end of 2014 to 5.146mn by the end of Q1 2015. The mobile network operator is working to extend 4G coverage to 75% of the population by the end of 2015.

UK: 33% of Hutchison 3G UK to be sold to investors

Hong Kong’s Hutchison is looking at selling a 33% stake of Hutchison 3G UK Holdings to a pool of investors which would include the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec, Evening Gold Investment Pte, BTG Investments, L.P. and BTG Pactual Global Partnership Investing Fund 1 LP.

UK: CMA assessing BT Group-EE possible deal

The UK’s competition watchdog, CMA, recently concluded that the potential acquisition of mobile market leader EE by BT Group “gives rise to a realistic prospect of a substantial lessening of competition in relation to the supply of wholesale access and call origination services to mobile virtual network operators and fibre mobile backhaul services to mobile network operators in the UK.” The CMA is undertaking an investigation to assess the consequences of the proposed acquisition in further detail.

UK: Vodafone confirms dialogue with Liberty, insists they are confined to potential asset swap

Forced to respond to growing media speculation about a potential merger with cable market leader Liberty Global, Vodafone has confirmed that it is in the early stages of discussions with Liberty Global regarding a possible exchange of selected assets between the two companies, but insists that it is not in discussions with Liberty Global concerning a combination of the two companies.

Netherlands: T-Mobile extends 4G LTE footprint

T-Mobile NL has launched its LTE services in Amsterdam supporting the existing 1,800MHz 4G network. The combined use of the 900MHz and 1,800MHz bands should improve QoS in key urban sites. T-Mobile is now planning to launch 4G in Utrecht, Rotterdam, The Hague and surrounding areas.

Netherlands: KPN reaches seven cities with LTE-Advanced

KPN has announced the coverage of Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Utrecht, The Hague, Eindhoven, Tilburg and Groningen with its LTE-Advanced network. The speed of LTE-Advanced should be as fast as 225Mbps.

Netherlands: América Móvil closer to exiting KPN

América Móvil has placed US$3.3bn (€3bn) of senior, unsecured bonds, exchangeable into ordinary shares of KPN, and is now likely to plan its exit from the Dutch company. The move follows a failed attempt by América Móvil to take over KPN in 2013.

France: Orange Group might target smaller EU telcos

Orange Group might look at acquisitions across Europe, according to its Executive Director in charge of European operations, Gervais Pellissier. The company might target smaller operators including Telecom Italia, KPN and Belgacom and the executive was quoted by the Financial Times stating that: “In the next five years, there will be inter-country or intra-European consolidation. Players who are today playing on a single market or near to a single market, might be purchased by those who are bigger. For sure, one of those might be a target for us.”

France: FPS Towers secures new funding, confirms acquisition of 10,000 rooftop sites

FPS Towers, France’s #2 and fastest growing towerco, recently announced the acquisition of Loxel, which increases their rooftop portfolio to around 15,000 sites and 20,000 in total. The towerco, which was created by Antin Infrastructure Partners in 2012, is also planning to expand through an extensive BTS strategy over the next few years.

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