Feeds

BT cleared of rigging Italian 3G auction

Now it can sell its £250m stake in Blu

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Mobile application security vulnerability report

BT has been cleared of fixing the Italian auction for 3G licences and now hopes to sell off its 21 per cent stake in Italian mobile company Blu - worth £250 million.

The British telecoms giant was put under review by the Italian authorities as soon as Blu pulled out the auction, effectively ending it since it left just five bidders for the five licences. The Italian government was livid as it had expected to make £20.8 billion from the auction. It got just £7.1 billion.

The legal review of Blu's behaviour was little more than an attempt to retain its £1.2 billion deposit. Unswayed, an Italian court ruled in Blu's favour yesterday. "We have not found any irregularities from the point of view of competition," it judged.

At the time Blu pulled out the auction (on the third day of bidding), BT actually said it was willing to bid higher but was overruled by Benetton-owned company Autostrade which owns 32 per cent to BT's 21 per cent.

Now the legal review is out the way, BT should be able to sell its share - worth £250 million. It is believed Autostrade also wants out and Spain's Telefonica is the most likely buyer.

The sale is one of the final European mobile-company stake sell-offs and will mark the end of Sir Iain Vallance and Sir Peter Bonfield's legacy of idiocy. Both realised they had entered the European mobile market too late and proceeded to pay over the odds for minority stakes in mobile companies.

This had the effect of building a massive £30 billion debt but with little or no influence in the market. Stupid? Yes, and it has seen FD Robert Brace fired, chairman Vallance shifted and CEO Bonfield removed of most of his power. New chairman Sir Christopher Bland is continuing to correct the errors made. ®

Related Stories

BT may be investigated for 3G auction-rigging
BT feeling Blu after Italy 3G bid collapse

The Power of One Brief: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Amazon Reveals One Weird Trick: A Loss On Almost $20bn In Sales
Investors really hate it: Share price plunge as growth SLOWS in key AWS division
Bose says today is F*** With Dre Day: Beats sued in patent battle
Music gear giant seeks some of that sweet, sweet Apple pie
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Too many IT conferences to cover? MICROSOFT to the RESCUE!
Yet more word of cuts emerges from Redmond
Chips are down at Broadcom: Thousands of workers laid off
Cellphone baseband device biz shuttered
Twitch rich as Google flicks $1bn hitch switch, claims snitch
Gameplay streaming biz and search king refuse to deny fresh gobble rumors
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.