Vivendi Universal’s French mobile unit SFR, the owner of 40.5% of French alternative operator neuf Cegetel, is in talks to buy full control of the company – France’s third largest fixed line operator – for about EUR5 billion (USD7.2 billion). If successful, the tie-up would create a significant rival to incumbent operator France Telecom (FT), underlining a growing trend of convergence in the domestic market where a number of dominant companies are looking to offer bundled fixed line, internet, TV and mobile services. SFR is understood to be looking to buy a further 29.5% stake in neuf from Louis Dreyfus, the trading group. Vivendi has confirmed that talks between the shareholders but declined to comment further. neuf Cegetel’s shares were trading at EUR36.74 each yesterday morning when they were suspended at the company’s request.