France Télécom (FT) and Vivendi Universal have entered negotiations to sell their joint-owned cable venture in France. A group of buyers, led by private equity house Cinven, is expected to have to pay around EUR500 million for the French cable networks. FT and Vivendi merged their cable in businesses in March giving them a combined subscriber base of around 1.7 million, just behind the market leaders Noos and UPC, which also merged earlier this year and claim around 1.8 million customers.
Both France Télécom and Vivendi are keen to reduce their debts, with the telco announcing last week that it was preparing to divest its 28% stake in German reseller mobilcom for around EUR220 million. With FT basing its broadband strategy on ADSL services, the cable networks are seen as being surplus to requirements. The cable sale is expected to be closed by October.