The Irish Independent reports that telco Etel has been outbid by Russian oil giant Yukos in the purchase of the local access companies of GTS Central Europe, which are owned by bankrupt KPNQwest. Although Etel initially indicated that it would bid EUR50 million for the GTS businesses, it is believed that the company only offered up to EUR30 million. Analysts said the news will be a blow to Etel, which they say lacks scale and infrastructure. The success of a consortium that included Yukos is expected to be announced within days by KPNQwest liquidator and main creditor Citibank.
The paper also reports that the collapse of WorldCom has dented an Irish-listed, highly leveraged credit asset management fund created and managed by stockbrokers Dolmen Butler Briscoe. The WorldCom scandal's immediate impact on The Blue Chip Funding 2001-1 will be a loss of USD12.5 million, or 1.25 percent of the overall portfolio. Nonetheless, Dolmen Butler Briscoe said that although WorldCom was a setback, it had not terminally damaged the fund, saying that investors could still look forward to "a very good return" over the full five-year term.
The paper also says that broadband Internet access company Leap Broadband has lashed out at the ODTR and called on the government to order the opening up of wireless licences to new entrants. Read the full story on ElectricNews.net.
The same paper says that TEAMtalk 252, previously named Atlantic 252 and Radio Tara, have been switched off after RTE effectively bought the licence by reacquiring an 80 percent shareholding. See the full story on ElectricNews.net.
According to the Irish Times, CR2, a Dublin-based developer of banking software, more than halved its annual loss to EUR6 million in the year ending June 2002, down from EUR15 million a year ago. Chief financial officer Conor Walsh attributed the improved performance to cost-cutting and an increase in turnover to EUR16.4 million in the year, up from EUR14 million last year. Walsh said the firm should be profitable within the next 12 months.
The paper also reports that IBM will pay semiconductor maker Xilinx a royalty fee on the number of chips sold using its technology cores. Xilinx has licensed to IBM its programmable logic technology for integration into its single application microchip product set. Enabling IBM customers to programme parts of the chips to carry out different tasks will offer businesses greater flexibility.
The same paper says that IBM has purchased PricewaterhouseCoopers Consulting in a deal that is worth USD3.5 billion in cash and stock. The company's partners, including those in Ireland, are expected to receive a USD100,000 each payout following the deal. Read the full story on ElectricNews.net.
According to the Financial Times, KirchMedia, an insolvent arm of the collapsed Kirch media empire, says it has received seven bids for its assets from potential investors. At EUR2.6 billion, the highest of the bids topped expectations for offers in the range of EUR2 billion to EUR2.4 billion. The assets of KirchMedia include a 52.5 percent stake in ProSiebenSat.1, Germany's top commercial broadcaster, as well as Europe's largest film rights library and sports rights. Wolfgang van Betteray, managing director, said "The high level of interest from potential investors confirms our view that the restructuring of KirchMedia can be completed successfully in the next few months."
The paper also says that the Swedish government has launched an attack on the bonus pay system of loss-making telecoms equipment maker Ericsson. The criticism follows publicity surrounding changes made by the company in its incentive pay scheme that make it easier for managers to get a pay-out. Last year, although the company reported the largest loss in Swedish corporate history, cut 22,000 jobs and did not pay a dividend, 3,000 senior Ericsson executives received bonuses because the group achieved a target of positive cash flow. Marita Ulvskog, acting prime minister of the Social Democratic government, said "I do not think you should have a bonus scheme when a company is doing so badly."
The Wall Street Journal reports that two former WorldCom executives are negotiating possible pleas that could see them cooperate with the investigation, according to people familiar with the situation. On Thursday, federal prosecutors in New York criminally charged Scott D. Sullivan and David F. Myers with securities fraud for their alleged roles in the USD3.83 billion accounting scandal. Sullivan and Myers were each charged with one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud, one count of securities fraud and five counts of making false filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Sullivan was released on a USD10 million bond, while Myers was freed on a USD2 million bond.