Daiwa Eurotelcoblog No. 1 (original email blast 11:37 AM, Wednesday, 30th July, 2003)
Bloomberg ran a story two hours ago citing an interview with Swisscom CEO Jens Alder, in which he confirmed that Telekom Austria fits Swisscom's acquisition criteria and that Swisscom values TKA at EUR11 per share (which coincidentally is TKA's 52-wk high), which would imply a 2003 EV/EBITDA multiple of 5.3x, broadly in line with the sector. As we highlighted this morning, there is a growing political controversy surrounding this in Austria, and now that the head of the Vienna Stock Exchange has weighed in, we think Swisscom (if indeed it is still interested) may have to move closer to the government's EUR13 per share valuation to make the trade sale alternative a compelling one for the government. We think anything above EUR11.50 looks excessive, but Swisscom is also under pressure to normalise its capital structure.
Followers of the Vonage/FWD stories, and those interested in VoIP generally may be interested in CNET's coverage of the FBI's nascent attempts to impose wiretapping obligations on the technology in the US http://news.com.com/2100-1028-5056424.html?part=dht&tag=ntop. The FBI was one of the principal opposition voices in the Pulver petition to the FCC (covered in our PTT Pulse Issue 54). There may be similar implications at the national or EU level in Europe, though defining a common policy framework may once again prove to be a conundrum, especially in light of the dismal performance to date in the transposition to the New Regulatory Framework (only five countries made the 24th July deadline, and Germany looks likely to be at least six months late in meeting the requirements).
An interesting datapoint from eMarketer regarding generational changes in leisure time http://www.emarketer.com/news/article.php?1002375#article. The article highlights research on US teenagers' use of leisure time, with a predictable shift to the web at the expense of telephony and other media formats. Most interesting to us (in light of our piece on instant messaging in last week's Eurotelcorama) is the statistic showing instant messaging as the third largest web application in terms of unique visitors. The study shows average daily instant messaging usage of 26.6 minutes per day (remember that residential telephony usage in Europe, excluding dial-up internet, tends to average 10 - 12 minutes per day). We would love to see something like this produced on the European marketplace.