Negotiations on the sale of some of Bouygues Telecom’s assets to rivals Iliad and Numericable-SFR – to satisfy competition concerns in regards to Bouygues’ takeover by market leader Orange France – are reportedly progressing. Domestic newspaper Les Echos cited unnamed sources familiar with the matter as saying: ‘On these issues, talks have advanced and a deal is almost done with Patrick Drahi’s SFR and Xavier Niel’s Iliad.’ While both companies are expected to acquire frequencies, networks and subscribers, Iliad will reportedly take on less assets than had been initially expected, the paper added.
As reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, in January 2016 Orange and Bouygues entered into a confidentiality agreement, which marked the beginning of official negotiations in regards to Orange’s acquisition of its smaller rival; the deal is valuing Bouygues at roughly EUR10 billion (USD10.9 billion). Talks between the two sides are expected to conclude by early March, though in order to secure the regulators’ approval, the two sides are understood to be required to dispose of some assets (including frequencies, networks, subscribers, etc.) to their competitors. The takeover is set to be investigated by France’s antitrust regulator, the Competition Authority (Autorite de la Concurrence), while the Regulatory Authority for Electronic Communications and Posts (Autorite de Regulation des Communications Electroniques et des Postes, Arcep) will act as an advisor.