French telecoms operators Orange Group and Bouygues Telecom have announced that they have ended negotiations regarding Orange’s potential takeover of its smaller rival. ‘After in-depth discussions, [Orange’s] Board of Directors has concluded that an agreement regarding a possible consolidation with Bouygues Telecom has not been reached’, a press release said. Orange added that it will pursue the deployment of its five-year strategic plan, dubbed ‘Essentials 2020’ (introduced in 2015), which focuses on investment in very high-speed broadband networks while providing an ‘unmatched’ customer experience. For its part, Bouygues pledged to continue its standalone strategy, which it said already resulted in a return to growth in sales and EBITDA in 2015.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, Orange and Bouygues entered into a confidentiality agreement in January 2016, marking the beginning of official negotiations in a deal that would reduce the number of mobile network operators in France from four to three. The potential transaction valued Bouygues at roughly EUR10 billion (USD11.3 billion).