Europe's telecom deals look poised to continue

Mergers and acquisitions across the global telecommunications industry is heating up, with Europe the main battleground. Almost $60 billion in telecom deals were announced in Europe in the first half, nearly double the amount of a year earlier. Bankers expect the trend to continue, saying the continent's mobile operators will look to consolidate further in order to offer a broader range of services, fund investment and withstand the sluggish economy. "The issue is relative scale . . . so if you're not No. 1, No. 2 or worst case, No. 3, then you absolutely feel the pressure to consolidate," said Alex Bhak, a London-based partner at consulting firm Bain & Company. "European telecoms are being hit by a double whammy," he said. "You've got pressure on earnings on the one hand . . . [and] the need for further investments in things like 4G and fiber networks."

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