In Brief:IBC seeking USD300 million investment? 

Israel Broadband Company (IBC),which is rolling out fixed broadband services over the fibre-optic network belonging to Israel Electric Corporation(IEC),is seeking partners to invest around USD300 million in the project.Rothschild is currently helping IBC,a joint venture between IEC and a consortium led by Sweden’s ViaEuropa,to find investors,with an emphasis on local companies.One of the sources claimed that Israeli mobile network operator Partner Communications Company has conducted preliminary work into the feasibility of a potential partnership,though a spokesperson for the cello said that no decisions had been made.An IBC spokesperson was meanwhile quoted as saying that the internet infrastructure company will open a data room for the deal within a month.

***The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development(EBRD)has reiterated its interest in investing in Serbia’s state-owned telco Telekom Srbija,which offers services under the MTS brand.The EBRD’s director for Serbia said that the bank is planning to invest more than EUR300 million(USD341.4 million)in Serbia,as part of a programme to channel over EUR1 billion into the western Balkans.During the most recent attempt to privatise the telco,the EBRD was one of six bidders to submit an offer for the government’s majority stake. None of the bids reached the government’s minimum price of around EUR1.4 billion, however,and in December 2015 Belgrade confirmed that MTS would remain in state hands.

***Sky Network Television and Vodafone will merge their operations in New Zealand via a deal valued at NZ$3.44 billion (2.16 billion) that will effectively see Sky buy out the mobile operator before handing over a majority stake in the combined entity.Under the terms of the deal,Sky will buy all of Vodafone New Zealand's shares for the aforementioned sum by issuing new Sky shares to give Vodafone a 51% stake in the merged company plus NZ1.25 billion in cash,to be funded through new debt.The tie-up creates a stronger,converged player in New Zealand as the market increasingly moves towards the provision of quad-play services.

***MTN South Sudan,the local mobile unit of South Africa’s MTN Group, has decided to limit the distribution of scratchcards in favour of electronic airtime top-ups,in a bid to help mitigate operational difficulties caused by the country’s economic crisis.The cellco’s head of corporate services said that MTN will also reduce the workforce by 54 people – reducing the total to just 82 employees .‘We have made losses since we started operating in 2011,’ the executive said in an interview in adding: ‘We have scaled down the staff and I think the organisation will function now.’ MTN,which reported 1.13 million South Sudanese subscribers at end-March 2016,is now encouraging local traders to purchase their airtime from MTN via bank transfers and sell to customers electronically, eliminating the need to import and then distribute scratchcards. The company’s CEO,was quoted as saying that MTN is trying to ensure it continues operating by positioning itself as ‘lean and efficient until the situation changes’.

•***Vodafone NZ and Sky complete $2.4bn merger
•Procera Networks wins analytics order from tier 1 EMEA operator
•BSG publishes UK’s open internet code
•Pulsant buys Onyx, appoints Mike Tobin chairman
•Telefónica México appoints CEO and executive chairman
•Trident Subsea Cable seals Global Switch PoP deal
•Dialog set to break into fixed-line broadband market
•Middle East and Africa showing fastest growth in IP traffic *Digicel,Iliad and Swisscom submit bids for Italian assets