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French minister blocks Yahoo!-Dailymotion deal

© AFP

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-05-02

French minister Arnaud Montebourg has reportedly blocked Yahoo! buying a majority stake in Dailymotion, stating he didn't want the rare French web-success to be 75% owned by an American company.

France’s Socialist industrial renewal minister Arnaud Montebourg blocked Yahoo! from buying a majority stake in French video website Dailymotion, reported the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday. Montebourg said he did not want 75% of the rare French web-success to be sold to the American giant.

Dailymotion’s owner France Télécom and Yahoo! had already signed a provisional deal for 300 million dollars (227 million euros) according to Reuters, in what would have been Yahoo! Chief Executive Marissa Mayer’s first big acquisition since her arrival nearly a year ago. Yet Montebourg still managed to get his way.

On April 12, Mayer’s second in command Henrique de Castro and the 27% state-owned France Télécom’s chief financial officer, Gervais Pellissier, met with Montebourg in his Paris office to discuss the deal, reports the Wall Street Journal.

“I won’t let you sell”

“I won’t let you sell one of France’s best startups,” Montebourg told Pelissier according to the WSJ, his voice raised. “You don’t know what you’re doing.”

Dailymotion, the French company founded in 2005 by two young entrepreneurs, is now Europe’s largest video website, with 2.5 billion videos viewed each month according to ComScore, and 165 employees in offices in London and the US.

The minister said he was ready to consider the deal, but not if Yahoo! takes majority control, the WSJ added.

“The government isn’t the one that closed the door” to a Dailymotion-Yahoo! deal, Boris Vallaud, Montebourg’s chief of staff told the WSJ, adding that the minister “doesn’t oppose a Yahoo!-Dailymotion deal, as long as it is a win-win partnership” at “50-50.

US out of love with France?

The unsuccessful sale comes at a time when US companies are falling out of love with France, partly because of the much-vaunted increased taxes put in place by Socialist President François Holland’s government, as a survey from the American Chamber of Commerce in Paris showed last December.

On Tuesday evening, Montebourg said he regretted Yahoo!’s decision to abandon the deal, and that both parties couldn’t find a satisfying agreement, adding that his ministry wanted to “make sure Dailymotion’s international development happens in the best possible conditions.”

Yahoo! has declined to comment so far. Meanwhile, Dailymotion remains on the market.
 

Date created : 2013-05-01

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