Stelios pulls plug on easyMobile

Stelios Haji-Ioannou, the entrepreneur behind the ‘easy’ brand has fallen out with Danish operator TDC – his partner in the easyMobile venture.

In a statement issued late Friday, Haji-Ioannou launched a blistering attack on the state owned Danish telecoms company, which has been using the ‘easy’ brand since early 2005.

But the toys were thrown out of the pram when in January, TDC was purchased by a consortium of private equity houses including KKR, Perima, Providence Equity Partners, Blackstone and Apax. Haji-Ioannou alleges that in the wake of the deal, ventures outside TDC’s core market were starved of funding and the management was purged.

As a result, the easyGroup has decided that its brand is at risk if remains in partnership with TDC and terminated the license agreement on Friday under allegations that TDC “breached the terms of the brand licence agreement”.

“Simply put, TDC is no longer a worthy licensee of the easy brand and damages will be sought to compensate for any damage done to the brand in the past or in the future,” said Haji-Ioannou.

The easyGroup said that TDC is contractually obliged to relinquish use of the name easyMobile within one month. Haji-Ioannou maintains that his company took no financial risk in the licensing agreement and has collected six figure royalty streams from TDC for the use of the ‘easy’ brand.

Haji-Ioannou said the company will be seeking new partners to commercialise its offering in the mobile sector and also revealed plans to move into the mobile reseller market. “I am already putting a new service in place with a new partner under the brand,” he said.

It remains to be seen how the termination of the TDC partnership will affect easyMobile’s relationship with its operator partners in the respective countries of operation. Even with TDC’s help, the company still encountered difficulties finding MVNO network partners.

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