Orange studying Bouygues Telecom tie-up
French telecoms market leader Orange is in talks about a tie-up with smaller Bouygues Telecom, France’s economy minister confirmed on Friday, after two sources said the discussions could lead to Orange acquiring the business. Asked in a TV interview about reports of the talks, French Economy Minister Arnaud Montebourg said “they exist” but that there were “multiple discussions” taking place in the industry.
Numericable in €325m Virgin Mobile France takeover
Numericable Group, the cable carrier that agreed last month to a $23 billion deal to buy operator SFR, is in exclusive talks to also take over Virgin Mobile in France from Virgin Group Ltd. and Carphone Warehouse Group Plc. Numericable made an offer of 325 million euros ($446 million) in enterprise value for Virgin Mobile’s French business, the Champs-sur-Marne, France-based cable operator said today in a statement. The target is controlled by holding company Omer Telecom Ltd., whose shareholder Carphone Warehouse confirmed in separate statement Omer agreed to exclusive talks.
If 5G is ‘done right’ we won’t need a 6G
The mobile industry could be on its last ‘G’, if comments made this week by U.K. operator EE are anything to go by. “My wife asked me: ‘how many ‘Gs’ do you have left in you?’ Looking at my pension, I’d say there’s at least one,” said Andy Sutton, EE’s principal network architect, on Thursday, insisting that “there might not be a 6G if we get 5G right.” EE expects the first 5G networks to come online from around 2020 and for widespread adoption to commence two-to-three years after that. “5G is very much at the fundamental research phase…but it’s the right time to do that fundamental research,” he said at a press briefing in London.
Carphone and Dixons shares tumble on merger
Dixons Retail and Carphone Warehouse shares lost almost £400m in value on Thursday as the proposed merger between the companies was given a rough reception by the City. Shares in Dixons fell by more than 10pc and shares in Carphone by 8pc as the logic behind the £3.4bn merger was questioned and concerns increased about integrating two retailers that have more than 40,000 staff and 1,200 stores in the UK. Sebastian James, the boss of Dixons and the proposed chief executive for the enlarged Dixons Carphone, insisted the merger was the “perfect match”.
Uber looks to flag down a $10bn valuation
Uber is looking to pull in a huge new round of funding at a valuation of around $10bn, matching the price tag recently put on its San Francisco neighbours Airbnb and Dropbox less than a year after the car-hailing service raised $258m. Talks with prospective investors remain at an early stage but several people familiar with the discussions said Uber hoped to raise several hundred million dollars to fuel its rapid expansion and head off growing competition from Lyft, Hailo and other taxi apps around the world.
Bitcoin startup Circle unveils no-fee digital currency banking
Bitcoin is a hot commodity in the tech community, but its complexity is turning off many consumers. Circle, a Bitcoin currency services startup founded in 2013, emerged from stealth mode on Friday with the launch of a suite of consumer financial services that bank on the belief it can take the crypto currency mainstream. The state goal of the startup’s free product is addressing “the terrifying complexity and risk” many people associate with the digital currency.
Google appoints marketing veteran Ivy Ross to head Glass unit
Google has appointed design and fashion marketing veteran Ivy Ross to lead its Glass unit as the company looks to broaden the appeal of the wearable technology beyond early adopters to mainstream consumers. Ross joins Google next week from the art ecommerce site Art.com, where she was CMO. In the same week the company announced Glass will go on sale to anyone in the US, after an initial trail period where the devices were only available to “Explorers” who had signed up to a waiting list or been invited to trial the $1,500 product.
UltraHD 4K market passes million-unit mark
The UltraHD 4K TV panels market reached a new benchmark in March 2014 when global shipments exceeded one million units for the first time, according to a report from IHS Technology. Driven by vastly increased deliveries from the industry’s three largest makers of the high-end panels, UltraHD TV panel shipments amounted to 1.1 million units in March, nearly a threefold increase from 384,300 units a month earlier in February. The gains are even more spectacular when measured from the same time a year ago in March 2012, when total UltraHD TV panels had not yet cracked the 150,000 mark.
Weight Watchers’ first UK cafe uses social media as currency
The ‘Feel Good Cafe’ aims to champion choice, flavour and real food within a weight management arena that is “swamped with negative connotations and daily contradictory advice on health and nutrition”. The cafes uses Weight Watchers foods to demonstrate how consumers can manage their weight while eating the foods they enjoy. Food in the cafe is offered to people free of charge, with visitors required to use their own social media as currency. The cafe will be open from 16 to 23 May, and will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner from the brand’s 250-strong range of food.