Numericable confirms Telecom Italia France (Alice) bid

20 Mar 2008

French cableco YPSO/Numericable has tabled a bid for Telecom Italia’s French unit Alice, joining a number of other firms that have reportedly expressed an interest in the business. The move was confirmed yesterday by Patrick Drahi, head of Altice, a fund that owns a 30% stake in Numericable. Reuters reports that sources close to the situation say Iliad (Free) has also submitted a bid, while alternative operator neuf Cegetel and domestic cellco Bouygues Telecom are keen, but remain tight-lipped on whether they intend to participate in the process. The Italian company’s sale of the French business has been a long-running process, and one started in the wake of the unit’s poor performance, low margins and high SACs relating to an expensive press and TV campaign to try to claim a toehold in the market. Telecom Italia France (Alice) had 900,000 broadband subscribers by 31 December 2007, ranking it fourth behind France Telecom, Iliad (Free) and neuf Cegetel, which has increased its position on the back of high-profile acquisitions of the French businesses of AOL and Deutsche Telecom.

France, Altice France (SFR)