BFM Business, citing sources close to Numericable, reported that the cable operator’s owners Carlyle, Cinven and Patrick Drahi are preparing to make an all-cash offer for the larger telecom operator, with a plan to merge the two at a later date.
According to the report, Carlyle has already met with Vivendi supervisory council president Jean-René Fourtou to discuss the plan. A deal could see Vivendi dispose of its interest in SFR, making a clean break that would leave with no exposure to the telco’s future performance and indebtedness. An earlier plan had envisaged Numericable acquiring 51% of the operator.
According to BFM Business, any deal could depend on agreement on the value of SFR and of the synergies that would be realised by a combination of the two companies. It is not clear that Vivendi is prepared to sell. SFR chief executive Stéphane Roussel told Le Parisien that the company “is not for sale and never has been” and that a merger was not on the cards. He said the only thing he could envisage was a sharing of technical resources across the pair’s networks.