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Altice open to acquiring Bouygues Telecom – report

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The CEO of Altice, Dexter Goei has indicated the French cable group could acquire Bouygues Telecom. According to a report, Goei said the firm, owned by billionare Patrick Darhi, would make a perfect candidate to buy the Telecom arm of Bouygues Group, a fellow French firm.

The news comes as Altice waits for the SFR acquisition to finalise to merge the mobile operator with its subsidiary, cable provider Numericable. The big players in the French market, as well as the government, all seem to be in an agreement the country’s telecoms sector needs to further consolidate.

Earlier this year Orange, Iliad and Bouygues held three-way discussions on the possibility of a Bouygues being acquired by the two others. However, a deal on how to split the company up couldn’t be reached and the negotiations collapsed.

The French operator market has been riddled with fierce price wars in the recent years, started by Iliad’s entrance to the mobile market with its brand Free Mobile in 2012. The country’s third biggest operator Bouygues Telecom has suffered the most from the tough competition and tariff cuts. In June the operator announced its workforce was to be reduced by 17%, 1,516 employees, to keep up with network investment and price-cut costs.

The news report said the operator has maintained its standalone strategy, but at the same time has indicated it keeps a close eye on any changes facing the French market. Previous to this, Bouygues Telecom also bid for SFR but lost to Altice.

Consolidation in the French market seems inevitable, the only questions are when this will happen and who will be involved. As Altice has apparently stated, it seems to be in a good financial position to acquire troubled Bouygues Telecom. Goei said the firm wouldn’t have to seek capital increase to dun the purchase, which according to a report by Reuters is valued by analysts at about €4.5-5 billion.


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