Luxembourg-based investment fund Altice Group, which recently closed the acquisition of France’s second largest telco SFR, is reportedly examining the financial and regulatory hurdles to a proposed takeover of French telco Bouygues Telecom, with advisors to each party said to have held informal talks in regards to the potential transaction, Bloomberg writes, citing unnamed sources familiar with the matter.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate in November 2014, Altice Group said that it would be interested in taking over Bouygues Telecom if its parent company agrees to sell the unit. Altice’s chief executive officer Dexter Goei was cited as saying at the time: ‘Right now, we are focused on integrating SFR, but if we get a phone call from Bouygues on Friday, then why not? There is a big synergy potential there.’ In response to a question about potential consolidation in the market, Goei noted: ‘It would surprise me if, in 2015, there [is not] some effort to get this done’.
TeleGeography notes that since SFR acquisition deal, French rivals Orange, Iliad (Free) and Bouygues Telecom have all expressed their willingness for further tie-ups in a bid to ease competition, with market leader Orange reportedly hiring investment banks Lazard and Credit Suisse to study a potential purchase of Bouygues Telecom in May 2014. Subsequently, the two sides allegedly held merger talks but failed to agree on a price. Further, Iliad’s informal June 2014 bid of EUR4 billion (USD5.4 billion) to acquire Bouygues Telecom was also reportedly deemed insufficient by parent Bouygues Group.