Telefonica to Buy O2 for $31.4 Billion

Telefonica agreed to buy British mobile phone company O2 in a $31.4 billion deal that would expand its presence in British and German markets. The Spanish telecom firm, one of the world's largest, agreed to pay a 22 percent premium over O2's Friday closing price. The combined company would have 116 million cell phone users and a 16 percent market share in terms of revenue in Europe's top five mobile phone markets. The deal requires approval by O2 shareholders.


Tokyo Exchange Halted for Several Hours

The Tokyo Stock Exchange suspended trading in most shares and bonds this morning following a glitch in its transactions system. Trading resumed at 1:30 p.m. (11:30 p.m. EST yesterday) after being suspended from the open due to a system malfunction, spokesman Daisuke Nagumo said. TSE systems chief Tomio Amano said the exchange was investigating whether recent upgrades to its trading transactions system were related to the glitch.

Trading was suspended in shares, exchangeable bonds and convertible bonds -- excluding off-floor traded and ToSTNet bonds, according to a TSE release.


Greece to Deregulate Natural Gas

The Greek government announced plans to liberalize the country's natural gas market.

Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas said draft legislation will be submitted to parliament this week to immediately liberalize the supply of gas for heating and electricity production for customers consuming more than 100,000 megawatts per year.

ABN Amro, the largest Dutch lender, said third-quarter profit rose 35 percent and raised its second-half profit target after higher earnings from consumer banking in Brazil and North America. Profit climbed to $1.45 billion from $1.07 billion in the comparable period a year ago. Profit was helped by the sale of the Brazilian Real Seguros insurance unit. Revenue rose 30 percent, to $7.36 billion.

Compiled from news service reports.