Calls to promote the creation of a “pan-European champion” with greater investment potential in the EU telecoms market
Technology company Agile Content is planning new acquisition operations in the ‘streaming’ space in Europe, saying it sees potential to “continue to gain ground” and strengthen itself in the segment, especially in areas where In where today the company is “not so strong”, as in the central region of the old continent.
As Hernán Scapuccio, president of Agile Content, explained in an interview with Europa Press, the company is well positioned for this type of operation, as reflected in the fiscal year 2022 results presented last February.
Along these lines, the company’s president stressed that last year Agile Content managed to reduce its debt by 8 million euros (from 20.3 million euros) because they “did their homework quite conservatively” despite the changes. From” done. The “context” of the market, in which interest rates have tightened.
“We are in a position and ready to be able to carry out an operation from a financial point of view. Yes, but it is also a year in which we believe there will be less growth (…) We still have to take into account the synergies More profits that are already set in, so this is the year to generate as much cash as possible”, said the manager.
“I would say we are ready. We do not see a future without continuing to operate, because we believe there is opportunity, we are a consolidated ‘player’ with the ability to continue doing so, but we are in no rush”, he have obtained the qualification.
Thus, the company’s view is that “more operations” may occur at the end of this year or in the middle of next year, although, as Scapuccio pointed out, Agile Materials would be “prudent” in the sense that it is not The operation needs to be closed “quickly”.
Change of Headquarters in the Basque Country
The technology firm, which bought Euskaltel’s television business from Maismovil for 32 million euros in 2021, inaugurated its new headquarters in the Basque Country at the end of February, where it will invest 26 million euros in innovation.
With regard to moving the headquarters to the Basque Country, Scapuccio stressed that the company always “likes regions that have an ecosystem and that have possibilities to create value”.
Thus, he has described moving to the Basque Country as a “logical step” to be “closer” to other market players who do the same as him, following the purchase of Euskeltel’s television business. Intensified and added the fact that the company already had an innovation center in Bilbao.
“Finally, we are close to the customer, Euskaltel. We have 500,000 users, families who watch TV for north of three hours a day. It means a lot to be in an ecosystem that encourages the presence of companies does. Work in ‘clusters’ and with a capacity for innovation. We were born in Catalonia, which in general has always been a ‘business friendly’ ecosystem (…) but with major people such as Basque Television With the change of perimeter and the addition, it made us consider taking the headboard there,” he reasoned.
Payment network access
The European Commission last February opened a public consultation on the establishment of a sustainable economic model for the telecommunications industry in the European Union (EU) and found two opposing camps for funding the investments needed to adapt the EU’s network infrastructure. established. To increase traffic in the coming years.
On one hand, large telecom operators ask large digital platforms, which are the main generators of network traffic, to modernize to pay for infrastructure access, while OTTs believe this means “double taxation”. Will happen. “And it would violate net neutrality.
When asked about the matter, the chairman of Agile Content believes it is “quite clear” that there is an “asynchronous regulation” between the various actors involved in the EU.
“European regulation continues to consider classic markets but it doesn’t reflect the versatility of digital business. In the end I regulate ‘telcos’ but I don’t regulate Netflix or I don’t regulate Google, which end up being big market share, although it is not easy to see the periphery market. I think there is a sloping field, as Telefónica says, which is real. There is a regulation that squeezes one on the one hand and all on the other I think it should be subject to review so that the competitive rules are the same for everyone,” he reflected.
While he has acknowledged that the solution from there is that big technology companies, who “argue that they are also helping the ecosystem work”, pay for use of the network, it is not entirely clear. Is. “The solution is not going to be easy,” he has qualified.
“It seems clear that some measures must be taken, that we must try to have the same rules for everybody and protect Europe in particular, because in the end it is also a geopolitical factor. Everyone, he remarked.
In this context, he has also emphasized that the European market is much more fragmented than the American or Chinese, an issue which in his opinion has been promoted to the advantage of users from the EU.
“Without naïveté, do the ‘telcos’, the technology companies or the users pay in the end? It is a matter between the three actors”, he assessed.
As such, it sees it “appropriate” to allow mergers in Europe and encourage the creation of more solid “European champions” with greater investment potential.
Beyond this debate, Scapuccio has indicated that Europe cannot “sleep” because, in his opinion, it is losing position in the framework of 5G implementation.
“Clearly we are at risk and one of the solutions is to allow more solid companies and to be pan-European champions. This state-by-state regulation, such as the state of Texas (USA) three ‘telecoms ‘ Wants to keep ’em in Texas, sounds absurd to an American and yet, that’s what we’re doing in Europe”, he insisted.