Competition watchdog to conduct ‘thorough’ examination of SFR-Numericable merger

17 Apr 2014

Bruno Lasserre, the president of France’s competition watchdog, the Autorite de la Concurrence, has reportedly disclosed to local media that the antitrust regulator is planning to conduct a comprehensive study of the imminent merger between SFR, the country’s second-largest cellco in terms of subscribers, and domestic broadband provider Numericable. Les Echos quotes the executive as saying: ‘We will do a thorough examination… We also consult sector regulators – Arcep and the CSA [Conseil Superieur de l’Audiovisuel] – and we will do one, two or several market analyses if necessary.’ Further, Lasserre revealed that the watchdog’s final decision is expected to be announced before end-2015, which falls in line with Numericable’s forecast to complete the transaction in 4Q 2015.

As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, SFR’s parent Vivendi announced on 5 April 2014 that its Supervisory Board had accepted a takeover offer for its domestic telecoms unit from Numericable (and its majority shareholder Altice Group of Luxembourg), which involves a EUR13.5 billion cash payment and gives Vivendi a 20% stake in the resultant SFR-Numericable group.

France, Altice France (SFR), Arcep, SFR