Bouygues seeks EUR53m in damages from Numericable

6 Nov 2013

Bouygues Telecom has sent a letter to cable operator Numericable-Competel seeking EUR53 million (USD71.58 million) in damages with respect to a contract for the provision of double- and triple-play services over Numericable’s host network, local news agency French Web reports. The move comes ahead of the planned Paris listing of Numericable, with its main shareholders Cinven, Carlyle and Altice Group planning to divest between 20% and 40% of Numericable’s capital; the initial public offering (IPO) of the company is reportedly set for 8 November 2013.

Bouygues is claiming EUR17.3 million in pre-contractual fraud (provision of erroneous information prior to the contract agreement), EUR33.3 million due to a breach of contract and EUR2.4 million due to ‘image harm’. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, in November 2009 Bouygues signed a contract with the cableco allowing it to launch ultra-high speed broadband services using the latter’s network; the contract was later extended for a further five years to 2019.

In a separate but related news, French telecoms group Iliad, the parent company of mobile operator Free, has reportedly sent a lawsuit notice to Numericable in a bid to prevent the distribution of its IPO prospectus, due to the ‘false and demeaning’ information published in it. La Tribune reports that Iliad accused Numericable of using comparative tables which underestimated Free’s offerings. The cableco reportedly responded to the accusations by saying: ‘The IPO prospectus has been prepared in good faith based on information available at the time of writing, and this prospectus does not constitute a document of comparative advertising by its competitors but a financial information regarding Numericable Group document.’