France’s telecoms regulator the Autorite de Regulation des Communications Electroniques et des Postes (Arcep) and antitrust watchdog Autorite de la Concurrence have approved the sale of Outremer Telecom mobile operations in the French overseas territories of Reunion and Mayotte to Hiridjee Group, the majority owner of Madagascan telecoms operator Telma. Arcep disclosed that Hiridjee met the conditions set by the two authorities, namely: to be independent from the Altice group and its Numericable subsidiary, to have ‘the proven competencies required to take control of the operations being sold’ and to have sufficient financial guarantees. In addition, Arcep has accepted a request from Outremer Telecom to sell off frequencies to Telco OI, which will hold the assets before they are transferred to Hiridjee.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, in October 2014 the antitrust regulator granted its conditional approval to Numericable’s proposed acquisition of French telco SFR, on the proviso that overall parent Altice divested its Outremer mobile operations in Reunion and Mayotte, where it already competed with SFR’s local units. Final bids for the two units were submitted in December 2014, with Telma/Hiridjee going head-to-head with six other bidders for the assets, which were valued at around EUR100 million (USD124.8 million). Other interested parties included the likes of French telco Free (part of the Iliad Group), Jamaica-based Digicel Group and Group Oceinde, which owns Reunion-based fibre provider Zeop.