Financial

Samsung buys home-automation startup SmartThings

Joins Apple and Google in exploring ways to integrate connected household gadgets

Reuters

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Samsung Electronics Co Ltd will buy SmartThings, a startup backed by PayPal co-founder Max Levchin that helps connect household devices, one of its largest U.S.-startup acquisitions to date.

The South Korean electronics maker joins fellow technology heavyweights Apple Inc and Google Inc in exploring ways to integrate connected household gadgets such as thermostats and lights with mobile apps, a trend commonly known as "Internet of Things."

Cisco to take $700 million in restructuring charges for layoffs

Facing pressure to retire, CEO Chambers says savings will go toward profitable sectors like cloud and security

Reuters

(Reuters) - Network equipment maker Cisco Systems Inc said on Thursday its plan to slash 6,000 jobs will result in restructuring charges of $700 million in cash in the year ending July 2015.

The latest round of layoffs, announced on Wednesday, is at least the fourth workforce reduction in about as many years for a company once synonymous with the Internet boom and could spark a shakeup in management, analysts said.

Shares in Cisco, still the world's largest networking equipment maker, were down 2.7 percent at $24.52 on the Nasdaq.

FleetCor to buy payments processor Comdata for $3.45 billion

Provider of fleet fuel cards for trucking looks to expand into virtual payments

Reuters

(Reuters) - FleetCor Technologies Inc said it would buy payments processing company Comdata Inc from Ceridian LLC for $3.45 billion in its biggest deal as it looks to expand into the virtual payments market.

Comdata, which was acquired by payroll and employee benefits processing company Ceridian in 1995 for $900 million, provides fleet fuel cards for the trucking industry, payroll cards and gift cards among other services.

Latin American telecom firm NII Holdings may seek bankruptcy

Responding to intense competition in Brazil and Mexico - its largest markets

Reuters

(Reuters) - Mobile service provider NII Holdings Inc, reporting its ninth quarterly loss in a row, said on Monday it may have to file for bankruptcy after struggling to compete in Brazil and Mexico.

NII shares fell more than 50 percent in after-market trading to 30 U.S. cents, after ending regular trade at 66 cents on the Nasdaq.

T-Mobile deal collapse could spark telecom price war

Sprint invests $5 billion to transform its much maligned network by the end of next year

Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Sprint Corp's <S.N> newly appointed Chief Executive Marcelo Claure has so far had a Midas touch in the telecoms industry, turning Brightstar, a reseller of U.S. handsets to Latin America, into a distributor valued at $2.2 billion when it was sold to Japan's SoftBank <9984.T>.

But his talents will now be put to the test like never before as he must complete the No. 3 carrier's network upgrade while trying to retain customers, who are defecting in droves.

Sprint drops bid to buy T-Mobile, changes CEO

Could give added impetus to a rival bid for T-Mobile by French telecoms firm Iliad

Reuters

(Reuters) - Sprint Corp S.N has dropped its bid to acquire No. 4 U.S. carrier T-Mobile U.S. Inc TMUS.N after regulatory resistance showed no signs of softening despite months of lobbying, people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Sprint's shares plunged 19 percent to $5.90, while T-Mobile fell 10 percent to $30.38 on Wednesday.

The move is a rare setback for Sprint's Japanese parent, SoftBank Corp 9984.T, whose billionaire founder Masayoshi Son had seen the acquisition as key to taking on U.S. market leaders AT&T Inc T.N and Verizon Communications Inc VZ.N.

BlackBerry closes chapter on restructuring process: internal memo

CEO Chen says recovery is underway, confident company will be cash flow positive by end of year

Reuters

TORONTO (Reuters) - BlackBerry Ltd <BB.TO> has concluded a protracted and painful restructuring process and is back on a growth footing, according to an internal memo to all its employees viewed by Reuters.

"We have completed the restructuring notification process, and the workforce reduction that began three years ago is now behind us," said the memo from BlackBerry's Chief Executive John Chen that was sent out on Friday.

Iliad may face tough battle cutting costs at T-Mobile

Faces significant obstacles such as negotiating better deals with U.S. tower operators

Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - French telecoms firm Iliad will be hard-pressed to meet its goal of generating $2 billion in additional annual operating profit at T-Mobile US Inc by cutting costs and slashing prices if its takeover bid is accepted, analysts said.

Iliad, which in recent years has shaken up the French mobile market with cheap subscriber plans, bid $15 billion last week for a 56.6 percent stake in T-Mobile, the No. 4 U.S. mobile operator.

Canada's telcos burst into banking, healthcare in hunt for growth

With landlines and cable TV waning and wireless growth slowing, operators push into uncharted businesses

Reuters

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's three biggest telecom firms, keen to keep shareholders happy with fat dividends, are breaking into businesses ranging from banking to healthcare to drive growth as they run out of expansion options and shy away from overseas purchases.

BCE Inc <BCE.TO>, Rogers Communications Inc <RCIb.TO> and Telus Corp <T.TO> dominate their industry in Canada but with landline connections on the wane, cable TV losing out to online portals and wireless growth slowing, Canada's telecom giants are pushing into uncharted businesses.

Orange's network investments help ward off low-cost rivals in France

Financers bet on recovery from French price war touched off by low-cost player Iliad

Reuters

PARIS (Reuters) - Telecoms operator Orange's investment in faster fiber and mobile broadband networks in its French home market has started to pay off, as its high-end focus insulates it from cut- price fixed plans offered by rival Bouygues.

As France's largest carrier reported second-quarter results in line with forecasts on Tuesday, it said that some 60 percent of new mobile customers were signing up for high-end plans that include 4G and that 50,000 new customers had signed up to its fiber broadband offers, taking the total to 415,000.

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