French alternative fixed line and internet access provider neuf Cegetel is in exclusive talks to acquire AOL’s internet access business in France, the companies said Wednesday. It is understood that a deal would include AOL France’s dial-up and broadband internet services, and its customer services centre in Marseilles, but would not include the American-owned firm’s internet portal operations, which instead would be offered to neuf Cegetel customers via a partnership agreement that is being negotiated by the two firms. A sale is expected by the end of 2006. Although no official financial details have been disclosed, Reuters says that AOL France could cost neuf Cegetel in the region of EUR300 million (USD384.1 million). If the deal goes through, the French operator will acquire AOL’s estimated 600,000 broadband customers in France and see its market share boosted to about 17.5%, from 13% currently.