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While the UK may have clear and strong reasons why Arm, the world leader in slide design, should not fall into American hands, the Italian government’s position on Telecom Italia to succumb to a bid by a US private equity group seems more ambiguous.
KKR has launched an offer of more than € 33 billion the weekend to take TIM private, in what would be one of the largest private equity buyouts of a European company in history. It already holds a 37.5 percent stake in Telecom Italia’s FiberCop broadband industry, but it’s a complete offering for the entire company.
TIM has been a basket among European telcoes in recent years. As Lex points out, only about a quarter of Italians have access to high-speed broadband, compared to 60 per cent of households in the EU as a whole.
KKR’s involvement (this also owns British fiber broadband provider Hyperoptic) could accelerate the rollout of fiber and possibly overcome the Italian government’s traditional habit of using its gold share to place the kibosh on any decisive ownership transactions.
The prospective deal could still be torpedoed by other vested interests, notably Vivendi’s, with its 24 per cent stake in TIM, but KKR’s move looks well in time in the context of the upheaval needed to drive fiber broadband deployment.
It’s been a busy few days for telecommunications M&A. Swedish network equipment supplier Ericsson on Monday expanded its service offering and announced that it would pays $ 6.2 billion in cash for internet telephony group Vonage, in its largest acquisition ever.
In Asia, Thai conglomerate Charoen Pokphand and Norway’s Telenor said they will merge their telecommunications units in Thailand, in an agreement that will create the kingdom’s dominant supplier worth more than $ 8.6 billion.
The internet of (five) things
1. El Salvador plans ‘bitcoin city’ driven by volcano
President Nayib Bukele said the Central American country was planning a volcano-powered “bitcoin city” partly financed by an issue of $ 1 billion in sovereign bonds backed by the cryptocurrency. We also investigated the rise of Crypto.com and if you missed it, Lucy Kellaway looks at crypto in the classroom in FT Weekend. Martha Muir reported about where crypto-mining machines ended up after China’s ban on the practice.
2. Paytm lower 37% on IPO price
Shares in the recently listed financial services company Paytm dived for the second day in a row as traders and bankers blamed one of India’s worst market debuts on an overly ambitious valuation target. The share of Paytm, which is backed by Japan’s SoftBank, China’s Ant Group and Alibaba, closed 27 percent lower after its listing last Thursday and fell another 13 percent on Monday after a market break on Friday.
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Roblox hits Chinese wall
In July, online gaming company Roblox hired dancers in cosplay outfits to perform at its Shanghai opening ceremony, marking the beginning of its much-vaunted attempt to crack the Chinese market. The company stated at the time that it would provide a “hyper-digital” and “borderless world” for its new users. Four months later, Roblox struggles to make a dive into China, amid regulatory barriers and stiff competition, reported Eleanor Olcott.
4. Uber Eats Adds Weeds to Menu
Uber is cannabis addition to the list of items that can be ordered through its application, but it will be picked up for the time being only, and only for customers in Ontario, Canada. This is the first time the co-op and delivery company has offered direct access to the purchase of the drug, and comes as it continues to push for looser regulations in the US.
5. Still alive in the old Spac
Much loved by tech beginners, blank check Spac vehicles make a return, according to The Big Read. Supporters hope the new signs of life indicate that this route to public markets is maturing.
Technical week ahead
Monday: Elizabeth Holmes, the Theranos founder accused by US prosecutors of defrauding hundreds of millions of dollars from investors expect to testify in her own criminal trial. The Zoom video conferencing platform reports figures for the third quarter as it struggles with the need to broaden its scope as staff return to the workplace and become less dependent on screen-based meetings. US financial software maker Intuit announces results for the first quarter.
Tuesday: Chinese mobile and general gadget manufacturer Xiaomi report earnings, just like ByteDance competitor Kuaishou. In the US, PC makers Dell and HP Inc have quarterly results.
Friday: Black Friday always obscures Cyber Monday online, but a major strike is planned by a group calling itself “Make Amazon Pay.” It has the support of 70 unions, which say they have a number of protests at various Amazon sites.
Technical tools – Blood sugar detection buzzing
Continuous glucose monitors (CGMs), commonly used by diabetics, track glucose rates in real time via a microneedle “installed” in the upper arm. A constellation of beginners has designed applications that work with these CGMs, reported Jamie Waters. These companies are positioning glucose levels as a new measure to drive change in our diet, so – they promise – we can become our sharpest, most energetic selves. Read more