French telecoms operator Numericable-SFR is reportedly set to pay as much as EUR4 billion (USD4.5 billion) for some of Bouygues Telecom’s assets, while rival Iliad would reportedly acquire a portion of Bouygues’ frequencies, networks and subscribers for over EUR2 billion, the Wall Street Journal reports. The proposed deals are aiming to satisfy competition concerns in regards to market leader Orange France’s acquisition of smaller rival Bouygues, under which Orange will acquire third-placed Bouygues for EUR10 billion, and then sell off a large portion of its assets (including frequencies, networks, subscribers, etc.) to Numericable-SFR and Iliad (Free).
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, with talks between the two sides expected to conclude in March. 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.