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.