Telefonica offered to buy Vivendi’s Brazilian Internet-provider unit GVT for 6.7 billion euros ($9 billion) to expand in a fast-growing broadband market and address antitrust concerns in the country.
Vivendi would get 11.96 billion reais ($5.3 billion) in cash and shares in Telefonica’s Brazil unit. Vivendi would also get a right to buy a stake of about 8 percent in Telecom Italia from Telefonica.
Orange said it failed to agree on a deal to help the French telecommunications market consolidate, leaving few options as a price war spreads from wireless to landline subscriptions.
French phone stocks declined. Orange “believes that it cannot pursue this avenue at the present time” as conditions weren’t met, the Paris-based carrier said, without elaborating.
Bouygues, the owner of Bouygues Telecom, is preparing for a future with four carriers in France as “now nothing is happening in this area,” Chief Executive Officer Martin Bouygues told a committee of the French National Assembly.
Bouygues Telecom, France’s third-largest mobile operator, was looking for a buyer as profitability and cash generation declined.
Germany favors Deutsche Telekom to replace Verizon Communications as a network provider after deciding to end the American company’s contract in the wake of reports about spy surveillance by the US.
“The federal government wants to win back more technological sovereignty and therefore prefers to work with German companies,” Tobias Plate, an interior ministry spokesman, said.
Germany is using an option in the current Verizon contract to end the arrangement in 2015, Plate said, declining to confirm whether the government had any evidence that the provider handed information from the network to the US National Security Agency.
The German government is considering setting up arbitration courts to weigh in on what information people can force Google and other search-engine providers to remove from results.
Following a European Union court decision in May granting consumers the “right to be forgotten,” the Interior Ministry in Berlin would seek to establish “dispute-settlement mechanisms” for consumers who file so-called take-down requests. If search providers introduce automatic deletion, public information would be at risk, the ministry said.
“Politicians, prominent figures and other persons who are reported about in public would be able to hide or even delete reports they find unpleasant,” it said. The ministry suggested that the removal of information shouldn’t be left to company algorithms.
Deutsche Telekom’s chief executive officer said he doubts a merger of its T-Mobile US with Sprint could win regulatory approval anytime soon, pouring cold water on SoftBank’s ambitions to add to its holdings.
“We’re getting signals from the regulatory authority as well as antitrust supervisors that such a merger isn’t seen as expedient,” Timotheus Hoettges said. “Against that backdrop, we have to see how we can develop the business so it creates the most value for our shareholders.”
T-Mobile is boosting sales at the expense of earnings as Hoettges aims to build it into a more serious challenger to larger rivals AT&T and Verizon Communications. Sprint, the wireless provider controlled by Masayoshi Son’s SoftBank and the No. 3 operator in the US, plans to push forward with a bid for T-Mobile after meeting with banks to secure financing for an offer, people with knowledge of the situation said.
While T-Mobile added 2.4 million customers in the first quarter, more than AT&T and Verizon combined, Hoettges reiterated that a merger of the smaller wireless operators would make sense as unavoidable investments in spectrum and network upgrades would put them at a disadvantage to larger peers in the longer run.