Vivendi mulling SFR Numericable merger

Vivendi is mulling a number of options for the future of SFR including a merger with Numericable and a fusion with Vodafone, according to various French press reports.

Le Figaro and Le Journal du Dimanche have separately reported that Vivendi’s amanagement has held talks with Numericable owners Altice, Cinven and Carlyle with a view to merging the two operators, combining SFR’s mobile network with cable operator Numericable’s fixed infrastructure. Such a move would enable SFR to avoid the need to use France Telecom’s infrastructure to serve its fixed-line customers.

According to the reports, a deal could see Vivendi retain a 49% stake in the combined company and receive €4 billion in cash. Another source also told Le Figaro that one option would be for Vivendi to take a 35% stake and receive €8 billion. SFR’s value is estimated to be about €15 billion, against €3 billion for Numericable.

The reports suggest that Vivendi is also considering other options, including a possible sale to Vodafone, which sold a 44% stake in the SFR to Vivendi only last year for €7.75 billion, or a public offering.