Zynga, Softbank form social games JV in Japan

Zynga, Softbank form social games JV in Japan
(Telecompaper) Social gaming website Zynga and Japanese operator Softbank have formed a joint venture Zynga Japan that will develop and distribute social games across Japan. The new joint venture Zynga Japan, brings together companies in social games and consumer technology to offer new users the ability to play social games anytime and anywhere. In conjunction with this JV, Softbank has completed a USD 150 million investment in Zynga. The joint venture extends Zynga’s reach to a wider global audience and marks the company’s first foray into the internet and mobile market in Japan. Based in Tokyo, Zynga Japan will use Softbank’s mobile and web technology to offer social games.[Lees verder]

France Telecom reports smaller revenue decline in Q2
(Telecompaper) France Telecom reported first-half revenues down 1.2 percent from a year earlier to EUR 22.14 billion. On a comparable basis, excluding foreign exchange effects and changes in consolidation, revenues were down 2.2 percent. This was led by a 7.5 percent drop in Poland and a 6.0 percent decline in Enterprise, while France was down 2.0 percent. The company blamed the drop in group revenues on regulatory effects, saying revenues were stable when excluding this. The group reported an improved revenue trend in the second quarter, up 0.3 percent compared with a decrease of 0.3 percent in the first quarter, after excluding regulatory measures. This improvement was evident across most of the company’s operations, France Telecom said. Overall regulatory effects are expected to take around EUR 1 billion off revenues this year, but excluding this, France Telecom expects stable sales for 2010. The company finished June with 182.0 million customers, up by 3.8 percent or 6.7 million from a year earlier. EBITDA for the first six months was down 3.7 percent to EUR 7.75 billion, and fell 4.6 percent on a comparable basis. Excluding the impact of regulatory measures, EBITDA fell 2.3 percent in the second quarter, after falling 3.0 percent in the first quarter. The EBITDA margin was down 0.9 percent point from a year earlier to 35.0 percent in H1, which puts the company on track for its full-year target, France Telecom said. The company expects a maximum drop of 1 percent point in the EBITDA margin for the full year. Net profit came in at EUR 3.73 billion, up from EUR 2.56 billion a year earlier, boosted by a one-time gain of EUR 1.06 billion from the merger of its UK operations with T-Mobile UK. Capex fell 7.5 percent year-on-year to EUR 2.11 billion or 9.5 percent of revenues. Spending is expected to accelerate in H2, to reach 12 percent of revenues for the full year. France Telecom reiterated a target for around EUR 8 billion in organic cash flow this year, after EUR 2.74 billion in the first half. The company also pledged to pay a dividend of EUR 1.40 per share for 2010, 2011 and 2012. The interim dividend for this year is EUR 0.60 per share. The group is also planning a stock purchase plan for employees.[Lees verder]

Telefonica revenues accelerate in Q2, profits improve
(Telecompaper) Telefonica reported second-quarter revenues up 9.0 percent from a year earlier to EUR 15.12 billion, helped by a pick-up in organic growth, positive exchange rate effects and the takeover of Hansenet in Germany. The drop in revenues in its home market Spain slowed to 3.2 percent to EUR 4.69 billion, while Latin America accelerated to 16.0 percent growth to EUR 6.44 billion in revenues, and Telefonica O2 Europe grew 14.0 percent to EUR 3.79 billion. The operator added a net 4.7 million new customers in the quarter, for a total 277.8 million at the end of June, up 5.2 percent from a year earlier. Mobile net adds reached 3.5 million, of which 59 percent were postpaid, for a total base of 211.0 million, and the number of mobile broadband users was up 87 percent year-on-year to 17 million. OIBDA rose a slower 4.0 percent to EUR 5.79 1 billion, and the OIBDA margin dropped 1.8 percent points to 38.3 percent. Telefonica blamed the lower profitability on higher interconnection and network costs in Latin America, increased staff at Atento and increased commercial costs for smartphones across all operations. The company’s net profit improved to EUR 2.12 billion or EUR 0.47 per share, from EUR 1.83 billion or EUR 0.40 per share a year ago. Capex for the first half of the year was up 54.7 percent to EUR 4.30 billion due to the spectrum acquisition in Germany, while operating cash flow fell 18.6 percent to EUR 6.61 billion. Telefonica reiterated its financial targets for this year through to 2012, including its dividends plans.[Lees verder]

Iinet to buy AAPT’s retail business – report
(Telecompaper) Australian ISP iiNet is thought to be the preferred buyer of AAPT’s retail unit, after rival TPG Telecom failed to acquire the whole business. Iinet entered a trading halt on 29 June as it is preparing an announcement. Telecom New Zealand has been hoping to sell the whole Australian unit in a AUD 300 million-plus deal, but has decided to split the business in a wholesale and retail unit instead. Telecom could hold on to the wholesale unit for a possible sell off into the national broadband network, the Australian reports. Iinet did not comment.[Lees verder]

Thailand plans 3G auction for end-September
(Telecompaper) The Thai telecommunications regulator plans hold a 3G licence auction in the last week of September. The board of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has approved the time frame. The NTC plans to auction off three 3G licences in the 2.1 GHz spectrum, each with a 15-year term. The licences are in 15 MHz blocks and the starting price has been set at THB 12.8 billion. However, the government has earlier said that the 2G concessions should be converted to licences ahead of the 3G auction. The joint committee that is developing the plan to terminate the concessions will meet with the NTC shortly to discuss its plans and meet with private concession holders as well. Furthermore, the house of representatives and the Thai senate will establish a joint committee to vet the amended bill on the formation of a new regulator, the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC). The bill is expected to become law at the end of this and the selection process of NBTC commissioners is expected to be completed in the middle of next year. The NBTC will replace the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) in overseeing the telecommunications and broadcasting sectors.[Lees verder]

PT to sell Vivo to Telefonica, buy stake in Oi
(Telecompaper) Portugal Telecom has agreed to sell its 50 percent stake in Brasilcel, the company that controls 60 percent of Brazilian mobile operator Vivo, to Telefonica, giving the Spanish operator full control of the company. Telefonica will pay EUR 7.5 billion for PT’s stake, better than its last offer of EUR 7.15 billion which was vetoed by the Portuguese government. PT will receive EUR 4.5 billion at closing, expected within 60 days, EUR 1 billion on 30 December 2010, and EUR 2 billion no later than 31 October 2011. At the same time, PT announced an agreement to acquire a 22.38 percent stake in Brazilian operator Oi for up to BRL 8.4 billion. The deal sees PT swap a stake in the leading mobile operator in Brazil for a participation in integrated operator Oi, which is ranked fourth on the Brazil mobile market and also has the largest fixed-line operations across the country following its merger with Brasil Telecom last year. Meanwhile Telefonica will be able to better integrate Vivo with its growing fixed-line business in Brazil.[Lees verder]

LG Mobile suffers Q2 loss on price decline
(Telecompaper) LG Electronics reported an operating loss from its mobile communications division of KRW 300 billion in the second quarter, versus a profit of KRW 24 billion a year ago, as the company suffered from price erosion and higher costs to boost its market positioning. Revenues at the division fell 29.5 percent from a year earlier to KRW 3.619 trillion, but were up 5.2 percent from Q1. The handset activities were responsible for much of the decline, generating an operating loss of KRW 122 billion on sales down 30.8 percent year-on-year to KRW 3.373 billion. LG said it suffered from a decline in the average selling price in mature markets, as well as higher R&D and marketing costs. The company shipped 30.6 million phones in the quarter, down 2 percent from a year ago and up 13 percent from Q1. Sequential growth is expected to slow to low single digits in Q3, in line with estimated market growth of 4 percent. LG Electronics’ total sales for the quarter were down 0.7 percent year-on-year to KRW 14.41 trillion, while operating profit plunged to KRW 126 billion from KRW 1.244 trillion a year ago. Net profit declined 33 percent to KRW 856 billion. Results were down due to price pressure in other areas such as TVs, as well as higher materials costs and appreciation of the Korean currency. The company is working on reducing costs and betting on new product launches to boost results going forward.[Lees verder]

Zynga, Softbank form social games JV in Japan
(Telecompaper) Social gaming website Zynga and Japanese operator Softbank have formed a joint venture Zynga Japan that will develop and distribute social games across Japan. The new joint venture Zynga Japan, brings together companies in social games and consumer technology to offer new users the ability to play social games anytime and anywhere. In conjunction with this JV, Softbank has completed a USD 150 million investment in Zynga. The joint venture extends Zynga’s reach to a wider global audience and marks the company’s first foray into the internet and mobile market in Japan. Based in Tokyo, Zynga Japan will use Softbank’s mobile and web technology to offer social games.[Lees verder]

France Telecom reports smaller revenue decline in Q2
(Telecompaper) France Telecom reported first-half revenues down 1.2 percent from a year earlier to EUR 22.14 billion. On a comparable basis, excluding foreign exchange effects and changes in consolidation, revenues were down 2.2 percent. This was led by a 7.5 percent drop in Poland and a 6.0 percent decline in Enterprise, while France was down 2.0 percent. The company blamed the drop in group revenues on regulatory effects, saying revenues were stable when excluding this. The group reported an improved revenue trend in the second quarter, up 0.3 percent compared with a decrease of 0.3 percent in the first quarter, after excluding regulatory measures. This improvement was evident across most of the company’s operations, France Telecom said. Overall regulatory effects are expected to take around EUR 1 billion off revenues this year, but excluding this, France Telecom expects stable sales for 2010. The company finished June with 182.0 million customers, up by 3.8 percent or 6.7 million from a year earlier. EBITDA for the first six months was down 3.7 percent to EUR 7.75 billion, and fell 4.6 percent on a comparable basis. Excluding the impact of regulatory measures, EBITDA fell 2.3 percent in the second quarter, after falling 3.0 percent in the first quarter. The EBITDA margin was down 0.9 percent point from a year earlier to 35.0 percent in H1, which puts the company on track for its full-year target, France Telecom said. The company expects a maximum drop of 1 percent point in the EBITDA margin for the full year. Net profit came in at EUR 3.73 billion, up from EUR 2.56 billion a year earlier, boosted by a one-time gain of EUR 1.06 billion from the merger of its UK operations with T-Mobile UK. Capex fell 7.5 percent year-on-year to EUR 2.11 billion or 9.5 percent of revenues. Spending is expected to accelerate in H2, to reach 12 percent of revenues for the full year. France Telecom reiterated a target for around EUR 8 billion in organic cash flow this year, after EUR 2.74 billion in the first half. The company also pledged to pay a dividend of EUR 1.40 per share for 2010, 2011 and 2012. The interim dividend for this year is EUR 0.60 per share. The group is also planning a stock purchase plan for employees.[Lees verder]

Telefonica revenues accelerate in Q2, profits improve
(Telecompaper) Telefonica reported second-quarter revenues up 9.0 percent from a year earlier to EUR 15.12 billion, helped by a pick-up in organic growth, positive exchange rate effects and the takeover of Hansenet in Germany. The drop in revenues in its home market Spain slowed to 3.2 percent to EUR 4.69 billion, while Latin America accelerated to 16.0 percent growth to EUR 6.44 billion in revenues, and Telefonica O2 Europe grew 14.0 percent to EUR 3.79 billion. The operator added a net 4.7 million new customers in the quarter, for a total 277.8 million at the end of June, up 5.2 percent from a year earlier. Mobile net adds reached 3.5 million, of which 59 percent were postpaid, for a total base of 211.0 million, and the number of mobile broadband users was up 87 percent year-on-year to 17 million. OIBDA rose a slower 4.0 percent to EUR 5.79 1 billion, and the OIBDA margin dropped 1.8 percent points to 38.3 percent. Telefonica blamed the lower profitability on higher interconnection and network costs in Latin America, increased staff at Atento and increased commercial costs for smartphones across all operations. The company’s net profit improved to EUR 2.12 billion or EUR 0.47 per share, from EUR 1.83 billion or EUR 0.40 per share a year ago. Capex for the first half of the year was up 54.7 percent to EUR 4.30 billion due to the spectrum acquisition in Germany, while operating cash flow fell 18.6 percent to EUR 6.61 billion. Telefonica reiterated its financial targets for this year through to 2012, including its dividends plans.[Lees verder]

Iinet to buy AAPT’s retail business – report
(Telecompaper) Australian ISP iiNet is thought to be the preferred buyer of AAPT’s retail unit, after rival TPG Telecom failed to acquire the whole business. Iinet entered a trading halt on 29 June as it is preparing an announcement. Telecom New Zealand has been hoping to sell the whole Australian unit in a AUD 300 million-plus deal, but has decided to split the business in a wholesale and retail unit instead. Telecom could hold on to the wholesale unit for a possible sell off into the national broadband network, the Australian reports. Iinet did not comment.[Lees verder]

Thailand plans 3G auction for end-September
(Telecompaper) The Thai telecommunications regulator plans hold a 3G licence auction in the last week of September. The board of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has approved the time frame. The NTC plans to auction off three 3G licences in the 2.1 GHz spectrum, each with a 15-year term. The licences are in 15 MHz blocks and the starting price has been set at THB 12.8 billion. However, the government has earlier said that the 2G concessions should be converted to licences ahead of the 3G auction. The joint committee that is developing the plan to terminate the concessions will meet with the NTC shortly to discuss its plans and meet with private concession holders as well. Furthermore, the house of representatives and the Thai senate will establish a joint committee to vet the amended bill on the formation of a new regulator, the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC). The bill is expected to become law at the end of this and the selection process of NBTC commissioners is expected to be completed in the middle of next year. The NBTC will replace the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) in overseeing the telecommunications and broadcasting sectors.[Lees verder]

PT to sell Vivo to Telefonica, buy stake in Oi
(Telecompaper) Portugal Telecom has agreed to sell its 50 percent stake in Brasilcel, the company that controls 60 percent of Brazilian mobile operator Vivo, to Telefonica, giving the Spanish operator full control of the company. Telefonica will pay EUR 7.5 billion for PT’s stake, better than its last offer of EUR 7.15 billion which was vetoed by the Portuguese government. PT will receive EUR 4.5 billion at closing, expected within 60 days, EUR 1 billion on 30 December 2010, and EUR 2 billion no later than 31 October 2011. At the same time, PT announced an agreement to acquire a 22.38 percent stake in Brazilian operator Oi for up to BRL 8.4 billion. The deal sees PT swap a stake in the leading mobile operator in Brazil for a participation in integrated operator Oi, which is ranked fourth on the Brazil mobile market and also has the largest fixed-line operations across the country following its merger with Brasil Telecom last year. Meanwhile Telefonica will be able to better integrate Vivo with its growing fixed-line business in Brazil.[Lees verder]

LG Mobile suffers Q2 loss on price decline
(Telecompaper) LG Electronics reported an operating loss from its mobile communications division of KRW 300 billion in the second quarter, versus a profit of KRW 24 billion a year ago, as the company suffered from price erosion and higher costs to boost its market positioning. Revenues at the division fell 29.5 percent from a year earlier to KRW 3.619 trillion, but were up 5.2 percent from Q1. The handset activities were responsible for much of the decline, generating an operating loss of KRW 122 billion on sales down 30.8 percent year-on-year to KRW 3.373 billion. LG said it suffered from a decline in the average selling price in mature markets, as well as higher R&D and marketing costs. The company shipped 30.6 million phones in the quarter, down 2 percent from a year ago and up 13 percent from Q1. Sequential growth is expected to slow to low single digits in Q3, in line with estimated market growth of 4 percent. LG Electronics’ total sales for the quarter were down 0.7 percent year-on-year to KRW 14.41 trillion, while operating profit plunged to KRW 126 billion from KRW 1.244 trillion a year ago. Net profit declined 33 percent to KRW 856 billion. Results were down due to price pressure in other areas such as TVs, as well as higher materials costs and appreciation of the Korean currency. The company is working on reducing costs and betting on new product launches to boost results going forward.[Lees verder]