France’s Vivendi group said on Saturday it would accept a bid from fibre-optic network operator Numericable for its SFR mobile phone business over a rival offer from telecom firm Bouyges, in a deal worth more than €17 billion.
"The supervisory board has unanimously decided to accept the Altice/Numericable bid," the group said in a statement.
The announcement ended months of speculation within the telecoms industry over the future of SFR, which as of April 2012 had 21 million customers using its mobile phone, landline and internet services.
Vivendi had entered exclusive negotiations with Numericable on March 14 but a substantially revised last-minute offer from Boygues threatened to derail the deal.
But in the end Vivendi decided Numericable’s bid was the more likely to favour "growth (and) create value for customers, employees and shareholders", the group’s statement said.
The Numericable bid also presented the least risk in terms of competition, said Vivendi, which is a mass media and telecom company.
"SFR and Numericable are not in the same segments of the market and their activities are complementary," said the statement.
Numericable's offer promised a first payment of €13.5 billion euros, a separate 750 million euro payment and finally the possibility for Vivendi to own and then sell a 20 percent stake in the new entity.
"In total, the offer would be worth more than €17 billion," said Vivendi.
Numericable owns most of the cable network in France and provides television, internet and phone services to 9.9 million households across the country.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP, REUTERS)
Date created : 2014-04-05