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from Breakingviews:

Vivendi boosts shareholder credentials in GVT sale

By Fiona Maharg-Bravo and Neil Unmack

The authors are Reuters Breakingviews columnists. The opinions expressed are their own. 

Vincent Bolloré, Vivendi’s chairman, is doing right by his shareholders. The French media group says it has entered exclusive talks with Telefonica on the Spanish group’s 7.5 billion euro bid for its Brazilian business GVT. The French conglomerate spurned a lower bid from Telecom Italia. It might have squeezed a bit more from Telefonica, but has chosen the surest exit. That leaves rival bidder TI facing an uncertain future.

Vivendi says the Spanish bid is in the best interest of its shareholders. The offer is higher, with 3 billion euros more in cash and a lower execution risk than the Italian one, which was mostly in shares and required a shareholder vote. To complicate matters further, Telecom Italia’s Brazilian unit is also in play – Oi, Brazil’s biggest fixed-line company, says it is considering buying TI’s stake. Both offers included potential deals to distribute Vivendi content, which gave Telefonica a significant advantage on account of its larger, global footprint.

There were fears that Bolloré could have been tempted by a larger stake in TI, which would have somehow reversed the group’s strategy of shedding its telecom assets to focus on media and content. The Telefonica offer is still a bit muddled in that respect: it includes a stake in Telefonica Brasil, a third of which Vivendi can exchange for Telecom Italia shares - Telefonica has been a longstanding shareholder of its Italian rival. Still, at nearly 11 times this year’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, Vivendi is getting a good price.

from Breakingviews:

Telefonica may have to inch higher for GVT

By Fiona Maharg-Bravo

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are her own. 

Telefonica is showing how much it wants to buy GVT. The Spanish telecoms group has given Vivendi a 24-hour deadline to accept a new 7.45 billion euro ($9.8 billion) offer for the French conglomerate’s Brazilian subsidiary. A competing bid from Telecom Italia is 450 million euros lower, has less cash and is more conditional. Still, Vivendi could yet wring more out of this auction.

from Breakingviews:

Snapchat’s valuation soars on tech-land pixie dust

By Robert Cyran

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own

Snapchat’s valuation is soaring on tech-land pixie dust. The disappearing-photo business has turned 100 million users, strong demand for chat services and the $20 million sale of a tiny equity stake into a $10 billion price tag. Trouble is, the company lacks revenue – and none is in sight. It’s a reminder that Silicon Valley dreams often trump real economics.

from Breakingviews:

China Mobile’s foreign foray risks meagre returns

By Ethan Bilby

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

China Mobile is using its cash pile to hunt for growth overseas. If past industry experience is any guide, however, returns could be meagre. Many other mobile operators have failed to create value through cross border tie-ups.

from Breakingviews:

A French revolution could disrupt U.S. mobile

By Quentin Webb

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

U.S. mobile is at risk of a French revolution. On July 31, Xavier Niel’s Iliad emerged as a surprise bidder for 56.6 percent of T-Mobile US, the Deutsche Telekom-backed operator. The billionaire is little-known in America, and Deutsche rejected his $15 billion opening gambit. But Iliad is roughly to French telecoms what Ryanair has been to European air travel, or Aldi to retail. If it wins T-Mobile US, market share and margins at AT&T and Verizon could face the guillotine.

from Breakingviews:

SoftBank’s U.S. mobile retreat is least bad option

By Peter Thal Larsen 

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Masayoshi Son has been forced to scale back his mobile phone ambitions in the United States. The chief executive of Japan’s SoftBank has belatedly bowed to hostile regulators and abandoned plans for his Sprint unit’s $32 billion takeover of T-Mobile US. He has chosen the least bad option.

from Breakingviews:

Flaky Iliad bid muddies T-Mobile US sale odyssey

By Robert Cyran

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Iliad has delivered what could be a Trojan horse for Sprint’s plans to buy T-Mobile US. In a rival approach, the $16 billion French telcom has offered $33 a share, or $15 billion, for 57 percent of the No. 4 U.S. mobile operator. It’s a flaky offer on several levels. But the intervention may intensify antitrust objections to Sprint’s wish to merge.

from Breakingviews:

French T-Mo bid looks like peak TMT Entrepreneur

Quentin Webb

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

TMT-men are the superheroes of finance today. A market boom has let telecoms, media and technology dealmakers such as John Malone of Liberty Global and Masayoshi Son of SoftBank finance ever-bigger dreams. Xavier Niel, the billionaire behind French telecoms group Iliad, is now bidding $15 billion in cash for 56.6 percent of T-Mobile US, listed but two-thirds owned by Deutsche Telekom. Maybe this idea should have stayed in the lab.

from Breakingviews:

Samsung software bet rests on future beyond phones

By Robyn Mak 

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are her own.

Samsung may be the world’s largest smartphone vendor, but the electronics giant is looking beyond phones. The company has launched the first smartphone that runs on its own operating system. Samsung is unlikely to challenge Google’s lead in handsets any time soon. But it may have more success with software that can control televisions, appliances and even cars.

from Breakingviews:

Korean chat app sends mixed valuation messages

By Robyn Mak 

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are her own.

What’s the value of mobile chat apps? Investors have been scratching their heads about the topic ever since Facebook slapped a $19 billion price tag on WhatsApp earlier this year. The recent backdoor listing of South Korea’s Kakao offers a new data point. But its user metrics and revenue numbers still offer a mixed message on valuation.

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