Vodafone Will Buy Germany's Largest Cable Operator and
Begin the "Quad-Play"
At a nearly 40% premium on
Kabel Deutschland Holding AG's
(OTCMKTS:KBDHF) share price,
Vodafone Group Plc
) has agreed to buy Germany's largest cable company for 7.7 billion
($10 billion). Vodafone is the world's second largest mobile
China Mobile Ltd.
), and it is acquiring Kable Deutschland for its TV and fixed-line
services, which will give it strategic positioning in the European
market. The price of the offer was increased last week after a
counteroffer was made by John Malone of
Liberty Global PLC
). Though Malone may still make another offer, sources familiar
with Kabel Deutschland say this is unlikely to happen.
The "quad-play," as it's called -- which is the combination of TV,
broadband, mobile, and fixed-line services -- has become ubiquitous
in European nations like France and Spain, yet German cable
companies have remained, as of yet, relatively fragmented. The
Vodafone-Kabel Deutschland deal will allow Vodafone to beat its
German competitors, like Unity Media and
Deutsche Telekom AG
(OTCMKTS:DTEGY), to the quad-play punch.
This is Vodafone's largest acquisition in six years and its second
major purchase of a European fixed-line network within the last
year, after acquiring the British
Cable & Wireless Worldwide PLC
) in July 2012.
Prices Released for Samsung's New Galaxy Tab 3
The Galaxy Tab 3 7.0
Officially announced on June 3,
Samsung Electronics Ltd's
(OTCMKTS:SSNLF) new line of tablets have received their release
dates and prices: Available on July 7 from retailers like
Best Buy Co., Inc.
(AMZN), the Galaxy Tabs 7.0, 8.0, and 10.1 will cost $199, $299,
and $399, respectively. The model numbers refer to the size of the
devices in inches; the 8-inch and 10-inch models will run Android
4.2 with more powerful processors while the 7.0 will run Android
The new Samsung tablets are cheaper than
(AAPL) similar offerings, especially on the smaller-sized end, with
the 7-inch iPad mini starting at $329, the 9.5-inch iPad 2 starting
at $399, and the iPad with Retina Display starting at $499.
With the new tablet line joining its Tab 2 and Note lines, Samsung
continues to offer a wide array of devices to meet varying consumer
needs, a strategy very unlike Apple's more focused three-device
approach. No single Galaxy tablet has been a major selling product,
but together, the tablets have performed well. Over the last year,
Samsung's tablet share has grown 283% to 17.9% of worldwide
The new Galaxy Tab 3 line will be available for pre-order tomorrow,
Facebook Is Developing a Mobile News Reader
Wall Street Journal
confirmed rumors that
(FB), for the past year, has been developing a news-reading
product, internally referred to as "Reader." Though the report
mentioned few details, it did state that the current version of
Reader is similar to the popular news-reading app Flipboard, which
currently has over 50 million users. Reader features posts from
users, content providers, publishers, and advertisers to create a
personalized news feed that is optimized for mobile devices.
The news comes just a week before
(GOOG) is set to discontinue its own Reader app. Facebook -- along
with Flipboard and similar apps like Zite, Pulse, and Google
Currents -- will likely be vying for the void left on July 1.
Facebook, constantly looking to recoup the value it lost after its
IPO, has invested heavily in mobile. Reader will fit into that
strategy, diversifying and tightening the social network's presence
on phones and tablets. On the other hand, Facebook has never been
fully regarded as a source of news, and the Reader may prove to be
a stretch for the company.
In South Korea, Sony and Disney Are Streaming Films That
Are Still in Theaters
In an effort to curtail movie piracy in Asia,
The Walt Disney Company
(SNE) have both begun releasing major theatrical films on-demand
while they are still in theaters. Both studios are employing the
new policy in South Korea, the world's eighth largest film market.
Recent films include Sony's
which went on-demand only three weeks after its April, South Korean
release, along with Disney's
, which went on-demand four and five weeks after their respective
According to the
Wall Street Journal,
executives of the four other major studios have said that they are
paying close attention to the efforts of Disney and Sony in South
Korea. In the US, it is standard practice for top cinema chains,
Regal Entertainment Group
(RGC) and AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc., to refuse to play films
that don't have a guaranteed 90-day gap between theatrical release
and DVD/streaming release. As Patrick Corcoran, the spokesman of
the National Association of Theatre Owners has said, "A short
window or simultaneous release muddies the value proposition being
offered to consumers."
Disney has experimented with early on-demand release before: In
2011, the studio released
on-demand in Portugal, six weeks into the theatrical run. Also in
Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
20th Century Fox
(NWSA) all experimented with earlier on-demand availability,
through satellite broadcaster
(DTV). However, in those cases, films were released 60 days after
their American debut and at the cost of $30 per film, which is a
full six times the standard on-demand price after 90 days. The
results of the 60-day window experiment were widely considered
Though theaters and studios are worried about potential
displacement, some analysts maintain that the move to earlier
on-demand does not raise any need for concern. Kim Young-gi, of the
Korean Film Council, has said, "Movie-going is a cultural
experience, VOD [video on-demand] is like watching TV. I expect
their markets will remain separate."
Either way, Sony and Disney are still playing the movies cautiously
in South Korea, while the other big four are waiting anxiously to
see how the future of movie-going and viewing will develop.
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