Most European telecoms stocks moved within a relatively narrow range in week 38. Stock performances varied between -4 percent and +8 percent, not counting two outliers: Greek Forthnet (-15%) and German QSC (+13%), according Telecompaper. The week's most important news actually came in over the weekend, when an auction was staged for Sky (+0.3%), leaving Comcast the winner.
Vodafone (+2.1%) spoke of the possibility of selling some of its tower portfolio, enabling it to reduce debt and support its dividend. TIM also announced plans to sell assets, but at the same time was rumoured to be interested in expanding in Brazil with the takeover of Nextel. Meanwhile America Movil reduced its stake in KPN (+2.7%) and the Tele2 (-0.4%) and Com Hem (-0.3%) shareholders approved the merger of both companies. QSC (+13%), the German business provider, prepared the sale of its Plusnet subsidiary.
The biggest M&A news came after the UK Takeover Panel decided that the bidding war over Sky should be rounded off in a sealed auction, over the weekend. 21st Century Fox, which had kicked off in late 2016 with an offer of GBP 10.75 per share, wasn't prepared to go higher than GBP 15.67. Comcast however trumped its own offer of GBP 14.75 by a wide margin and ended up winning the auction with a bid worth GBP 17.28 per share - far higher than Friday's closing price of GBP 15.85. Now it remains to be seen what will happen with the 39 percent stake that is owned by 21CF and its new parent Walt Disney. There is speculation that it could be swapped against Comcast's 30 percent stake in Hulu, which would make Walt Disney the 90 percent owner of Hulu.