Thierry Lemaitre, chief financial officer of French cable operator Numericable, has suggested that a merger with Vivendi’s SFR unit ‘makes sense’ and hinted that the newly listed company might pursue the option again, Bloomberg News reports. According to the news agency, the executive has indicated that Numericable will have to re-assess the price and potential structure of the offer, if it is to make another approach. Lemaitre also stated that although Numericable has not entered into discussions with any of the involved parties yet, its believes that the government and regulators would not object to a potential merger between the two companies, as Numericable does not own mobile assets and the deal would not result in a reduction of the number of players in the wireless market.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, Numericable private equity owners Carlyle, Cinven and Altice initially entered into discussion with Vivendi over a multibillion merger with Vivendi’s SFR telecoms business since October 2012, although talks between the involved parties stalled in February 2013. Subsequently, in September the cableco confirmed that it planned to list between 20% and 40% of its capital as part of an initial public offering (IPO) instead, and registered its ‘core documents’ with the Autorite des Marches Financiers (AMF). The Paris listing was consequently oversubscribed by more than ten times, after generating strong demand from both French and international institutional investors. Following the completion of all concurrent share transfers, Altice Group will become the largest shareholder in the company, with 40% of the capital and voting rights.