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Vivendi treads fine line between Altice and Bouygues

Jean-René Fourtou

Jean-René Fourtou

Vivendi president Jean-René Fourtou has given a commitment to Bouygues proprietor Martin Bouygues to study his new offer for telecom group SFR before agreeing to a deal with rival bidder Altice/Numericable, according to French reports.

According to Le Figaro, Fourtou told Bouygues earlier this week that Vivendi’s management will examine the new offer with “all necessary rigour” while conforming to its existing commitment to negotiate exclusively with Altice for a period of three weeks.

Vivendi’s management are trying to judge what is seen as a difficult balance between maintaining their commitment to Altice, respecting the interests of minority shareholders and employees, and avoiding legal action threatened by Bouygues if its offer is not given proper consideration.

It is believed that Vivendi is unlikely to sign a deal before April 4, when its exclusivity commitment with Altice expires.