Following reports last week that Vivendi’s French telecoms operation SFR could be a takeover target for UK-based Vodafone Group, new stories have emerged which suggest Vivendi is in talks regarding a possible merger between SFR and French cable operator Numericable. A report from the Financial Times cites ‘people close to the discussions’ who claim that the media and telecoms group is in negotiations with Numericable’s owners, private equity groups Carlyle, Cinven and Altice. It is thought that Vivendi is looking to take a 49% stake in the merged entity and at least EUR4 billion (USD5.2 billion) cash. Vivendi, Numericable, Carlyle, Cinven and Altice declined to comment, the Financial Times reports.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database, SFR is France’s second largest cellular operator behind France Telecom-Orange, with almost 21 million subscribers and a 34.5% share of the market at the end of June 2012. SFR is also active in the broadband internet market, claiming over five million subscribers at mid-2012. Numericable, meanwhile, had an estimated 880,000 internet customers over its cable TV networks at the same date, with a network passing a total population of some 9.4 million.