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Bouygues takes on Numericable as it tables offer for SFR

Bouygues TelecomBouygues has thrown its hat into the ring in the battle for control of Vivendi-owned telco SFR with a €10.5 billion offering.

The move sets the stage for a contest between Bouygues and Numericable-owner Altice, which has already tabled an offer, although financial details have not been released.

Vivendi confirmed that it has now received two binding offers for a controlling stake in SFR from Altice and Bouygues, including financial commitments.

Vivendi said its supervisory board “will now examine these offers. It will consider all options available regarding the future of its subsidiary and the group, in the best interests of employees and shareholders.”

Bouygues plans to merge its telecom unit with SFR and list the combined entity on the stock exchange. Any deal is however expected to attract close regulatory scrutiny because it would involve the merger of France’s number two and number three mobile operators by subscribers.

Bouygues’ proposal, which values SFR at €14.5 billion before syneriges and €19 billion after synergies, would leave Vivendi with a 46% stake in the company, with Bouygues holding 49%.

Bouygues said it would finance the acquisition through the combined entity’s debt, guaranteed by HSBC.

To help secure regulatory approval, Bouygues has proposed selling its own mobile frequencies to rival Free. However, there is no sign so far that the latter is interested in acquiring them.

Numericable has reportedly proposed a combination of €3 billion in cash, €8 billion in debt and the remainder – 32% – in shares.