French telecoms providers Orange and domestic conglomerate Bouygues have entered into a confidentiality agreement, which marks the beginning of official negotiations in regards to Orange’s acquisition of the latter’s telecoms and media assets (excluding the FT1 channel), Le Figaro reports citing Journal du Dimanche (JDD). Discussions in regards to the merger deal – which is valuing Bouygues Telecom at roughly EUR10 billion (USD10.9 billion) – is reportedly set to begin in mid-January; if approved, the agreement will see Bouygues gain an approximate 15% interest in the new group, while the government will retain a 20% stake.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, market leader Orange reportedly hired 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. The matter re-emerged again in late December 2015, when the two sides were said to be examining the antitrust and regulatory hurdles that a potential tie-up could attract.