TelCo Shake-up: With Vivendi selling SFR to Numericable, Bouygues is looking for a buyer

Apr 8, 2014
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After Vivendi confirmed that they would accept Numericable’s bid to purchase SFR at a valuation of €19 Billlion, Bouygues Telecom, who lost out to Vivendi on the bid for SFR, is now expect to find a buyer – the ailing telecommunications company is currently said to be in talks with Free’s parent company Iliad, as well as Spanish Telefonica.

The Telecom news has gotten industry reporters quite excited, with new reports and speculations coming out every day. That being said, what’s not to love about this story

Step 1) Numericable vs. Montebourg

Numericable faces scrutiny from French minister Arnaud Montebourg, who announced last month that he preferred SFR be bought by Bouygues – this is the same guy who shot down Yahoo!’s acquisition of Dailymotion and told Uber to Slow it down a bit. Montebourg claimed that he felt France should only have 3 Mobile players – Numericable previous had no mobile actuivity, but will enter the market with the acquisition of SFR. Montebourg’s real source of discontent may be that Numericable is based in Luxembourg, and that its CEO is based in Switzerland, two common tax havens for companies with French activity (like Netflix).

Step 2) Montebourg may be right after all

With Bouygues’ failed bid to buy SFR, many think that Bouygues is at the end of its rope – now that the company is said to be looking for a buyer, Montebourg may be right after all, as a Bouygues-Iliad acquisition would indeed leave 3 MNOs in France; however, I wouldn’t expect Bouygues to go down that easiliy, as Iliad is the very company that killed Bouygues, having launched their price-slashing mobile offer just three years ago.

Step 3) Don’t rule out other buyers

The Telecom industry hasn’t seen this much activity since Sprint was bought by Softbank Capital, and I wouldn’t rule out the Japanese TelCo from buying Bouygues. SoftBank made a great move buying up Sprint when it was in its worst position, and Bouygues is looking like the French Sprint these days.

Needless to say, it’s exciting times for the TelCo industry.