Adbrands Weekly Update 27th Oct 2016: Ads of the Week: "The Music Box". Just in time for Halloween, here's an entertaining tale for O2's pay as you go mobile sideline GiffGaff. It's produced inhouse, written and directed by GiffGaff brand director Tom Rainsford, clearly a man with many strings to his bow. Sense, it makes none, but is nevertheless a highly entertaining mash-up of scary sequences, like a greatest hits compilation of the horror genre. Indulge yourself.
Adbrands Weekly Update 12th May 2016: As expected, EU regulators upheld the objections of their UK-based counterparts and blocked the proposed merger of mobile networks O2 and Hutchison Three. "Allowing Hutchison to take over O2 at the terms they proposed would have been bad for UK consumers and bad for the UK mobile sector. The remedies offered by Hutchison were not sufficient to prevent this." It is the latest development in the ongoing tug of war between state regulators and European mobile operators over consolidation. This ban now opens the way for alternative deals. Liberty Global, owner of Virgin Media in the UK as well as other European cable services, was quick to express its interest in O2. Any potential deal there would preserve the status quo of four major suppliers which regulators are so keen to preserve. Meanwhile, Three's owner Hutchison was said to be considering an approach to broadband service Talk Talk.
Adbrands Weekly Update 14th Apr 2016: British regulators put pressure on their EU counterparts to veto the proposed merger of O2 and Hutchison 3 in the UK. The UK Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) says the proposed concessions offered by Hutchison fall short of requirements, echoing earlier concerns voiced by telecoms watchdog Ofcom. The CMA opposes any consolidation that would reduce the number of mobile operators from four at present to three. Given the current sensitivity regarding "Brexit", the EU is unlikely to override British regulatory concerns. However, while regulators are opposed to the merger, industry insiders are broadly in favour. A common view is that failure to consolidate would be even worse, not better, for competition, since it will leave O2 and 3 as "lame duck" operators. According to market watcher Enders Analysis, "The economics of the industry are such that four operators isn't viable in the long term... If the 3-O2 deal doesn't go ahead, you'll have two weak players getting weaker and weaker over time." At the end of 2015, EE was the UK's leading operator with almost 32% share. O2 - which owner Telefonica wants to sell - had almost 30%, with Vodafone on 24% and 3 at 14%.
Adbrands Weekly Update 7th April 2016: The proposed acquisition of O2 UK by 3 mobile owner Hutchison is on the ropes. The Hong Kong group has firmed up a number of concessions to appease EU regulators, including the transfer of a significant chunk of O2's call capacity to pay TV operators Sky and Virgin Media, as well as its 50% stake in Tesco Mobile. However that may not be enough to satisfy competition watchdogs. A decision is expected this week.
Adbrands Weekly Update 27th Aug 2015: O2 and VCCP are to go their separate ways in Germany, following a long relationship. Telefonica is calling a local review of the O2 account, which has been with VCCP in Germany since 2008, and is worth around E125m in annual billings. VCCP declined an invitation to defend the business. It's unclear what exactly will happen to the UK account, retained for now by VCCP. That business is in the process of being acquired by smaller rival Hutchison 3, so a pitch is likely there too next year if not before.
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