UK media and telecoms correspondent
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Nov 22, 2013

TalkTalk considers eventual special dividend

BARCELONA, Nov 22 (Reuters) – UK group TalkTalk Telecom
will look to pay a special dividend as a drop-off in
the level of investment needed for its television service
coincides with a period of rapid customer growth, its chief
executive said on Friday.

Dido Harding told a Morgan Stanley investor conference in
Barcelona she hoped to pay out excess cash to show her
confidence in a group that is growing strongly and enjoying a
slowdown in the rate of customers leaving the service.

Nov 21, 2013

As Omnicom and Publicis merge, rivals prepare to snare clients

BARCELONA (Reuters) – Three major rivals to advertising groups Omnicom (OMC.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and Publicis (PUBP.PA: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), which are merging, say they are poaching work from the pair by luring clients who are unsettled by the $35.1 billion deal.

Market leader WPP (WPP.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), fourth-placed Interpublic Group (IPG.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) (IPG) and Japan’s fifth-placed Dentsu (4324.T: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) said they had either begun to win work or believed they could do so as major brands bristle at the coming together of the industry’s second and third largest players.

Nov 20, 2013

BT limbering up for next big TV football auction says CEO

BARCELONA (Reuters) – Fresh from stunning its rivals in the battle to show European Champions League football, British telecoms group BT will be in a strong financial position to bid for the next round of English Premier League rights, its chief executive said on Wednesday.

BT, the once-staid 168-year-old telecoms operator, said earlier this month it had out-bid pay-TV group BSkyB and free-to-air broadcaster ITV to show Europe’s premier football competition from 2015 to 2018.

Nov 20, 2013

Vodafone open to higher network spending after two-year boost

BARCELONA (Reuters) – Vodafone is open to keeping network spending above its traditional levels once its two-year booster program has ended if it needs to respond to customer demand and competitor moves, its chief executive said.

Vodafone, the world’s No. 2 mobile operator, said this month that it would spend an extra 7 billion pounds ($11.3 billion) on its network in the next two years to put it in pole position for when the economy recovers.

Nov 20, 2013

ITV expects to outperform ad market in 2014: CEO

BARCELONA (Reuters) – ITV (ITV.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), Britain’s biggest commercial free-to-air broadcaster, expects to outperform the UK advertising market in 2014 due to strong demand by major brands during the soccer world cup, its chief executive said.

CEO Adam Crozier told a Morgan Stanley conference in Barcelona that ITV, the home of “X-Factor” talent show and period drama “Downton Abbey”, was in the best financial shape it had been in for years.

Nov 20, 2013

BT limbering up for next big TV soccer auction says CEO

BARCELONA, Nov 20 (Reuters) – Fresh from stunning its rivals
in the battle to show European Champions League soccer, British
telecoms group BT will be in a strong financial position
to bid for the next round of English Premier League rights, its
chief executive said on Wednesday.

BT, the once-staid 168-year-old telecoms operator, said
earlier this month it had out-bid pay-TV group BSkyB and
free-to-air broadcaster ITV to show Europe’s premier
soccer competition from 2015 to 2018.

Nov 14, 2013

Scandal-hit Serco’s shares plummet after profit warning

LONDON (Reuters) – Serco (SRP.L: Quote, Profile, Research), the embattled contractor accused of overbilling the British government, revealed the extent of its problems by announcing heavy one-off charges and a profit warning on Thursday.

The company, which has a temporary CEO and is the subject of seven investigations, said operating profit would fall in 2013 and 2014, setting its shares on track for their worst day of trading since July 2002.

Nov 14, 2013

Shares in scandal-hit Serco dive after profit warning

LONDON (Reuters) – Serco Group Plc (SRP.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), the embattled contractor accused of overbilling the British government, took a raft of charges and warned of lower profits on Thursday as problems in Britain, Australia and the United States began to bite.

The company said operating profit would fall in 2013 and 2014, driving its shares down 10 percent to their lowest in more than four years and wiping around 250 million pounds ($400 million) off its stock market value.

Nov 13, 2013

Former UK editor Brooks was hacking victim, court hears

LONDON (Reuters) – Rebekah Brooks, a former editor of Britain’s News of the World on trial for phone-hacking, had her own voicemail repeatedly targeted by the private investigator working for her newspaper, a court in London heard on Wednesday.

Brooks, a close confidante of Rupert Murdoch and Prime Minister David Cameron, was one of hundreds whose name was found in the notebooks of Glenn Mulcaire, who has pleaded guilty to voicemail interception on behalf of the now defunct Sunday tabloid.

Nov 12, 2013

Vodafone to ramp up investment as trading suffers

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s Vodafone (VOD.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) will spend 7 billion pounds – more than expected, earlier than expected – to increase the speed and capacity of its networks and reverse a record fall in revenues resulting from its struggling European business.

The world’s second-largest mobile operator, which is using some of the proceeds from the $130 billion sale of its U.S. arm to Verizon Communications (VZ.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) to upgrade its infrastructure, said it would spend 3 billion pounds in Europe, 1.5 billion in its emerging markets and the rest on fixed-line assets and corporate customers.

    • About Kate

      "I am based in London and cover the UK media and telecoms sectors including BSkyB, Vodafone and WPP. I have previously covered UK general news and sports including major events such as the Olympics and football World Cups."
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