BellSouth sizes up Vebacom
Saturday 15 February 1997
C&W pulled out of Vebacom a week ago blaming "differences in priorities" with Veba, the German utility giant and its partner in the venture. The two sides had clashed over the inclusion of RWE, another large utility, in the link-up and the German companies' ambitious plans to invest billions of Deutschmarks building a fixed telephone network. Veba is to pay C&W pounds 820m to buy out its 45 per cent stake in Vebacom.
The move by C&W has already been seen by analysts as the precursor to a shift in the pattern of worldwide telecommunications alliances, with widespread speculation that the British group is soon to joint the Global One partnership between Deutsche Telekom, France Telecom and Sprint of the US.
Sources suggested BellSouth's interest in Vebacom was a natural progression in its German ambitions. The company, based in Atlanta and providing local phone services to 21 million customers in nine US states, already has a mobile telephony partnership with Veba in the E-Plus alliance. BellSouth took a 21.4 per cent stake in E-Plus in 1993.
BellSouth, the sources claim, had held negotiations to partner Veba in fixed phone lines before the C&W tie-up to form Vebacom. The US operator has aggressively built up a portfolio of alliances and investments in 17 countries outside the US. It also has a strong enough balance sheet to fund the likely pounds 500m cost of joining Vebacom, with post-tax profits last year of $2.86bn (pounds 1.8bn).
A spokesman for BellSouth declined to comment on the development. "We talk to everybody and there's no secret in that but we never discuss speculation."
Another regional US phone group, SBC, had been put forward as a possible new partner in Vebacom. However, one senior executive close to the alliance dismissed the idea as "unlikely".
Separately, Cable & Wireless yesterday revealed the third senior executive appointment at C&W Communications, the pounds 5bn group formed out of the merger of its Mercury Communications subsidiary with three cable companies. Martin Hayton, 41, is to become director of human resources. He is currently personnel director for Hong Kong Telecom, in which C&W has a near 60 per cent stake.
Sources suggested that Mercury's head of personnel, Robert Johnston, had been seen as the most likely internal candidate, but his appointment had been rejected by Dick Brown, C&W's chief executive. It has also emerged that Christopher Chadwick, Mercury's head of customers services, resigned from the company just before Christmas for "personal reasons". Peter Howell- Davies, Mercury's chief executive, has been taking responsibility for the customer services job, a key role in Mercury as it battles with BT and other rivals, until the formation of C&W Communications, planned for April.
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food
iJobs Money & Business
$200 - $350 per annum: Carlton Senior Appointments: Managing Producer Office...
$125 - $225 per annum: Carlton Senior Appointments: San Fran - Investment Advi...
Up to £70,000 per annum + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accoun...
Up to £65,000 per annum + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accoun...