France’s Iliad Telecom has in recent weeks made an offer for Bouygues Telecom that falls well short of the latter’s expectations, according to press reports.
According to Bloomberg, citing sources familiar with the matter, Iliad, which operates under the Free brand, has tabled an offer of between €4 billion and €5 billion for the telecom arm of the Bouygues industrial conglomerate, well short of the €7-8 billion Bouygues has been seeking for the unit. The resulting gap has left discussions frozen, according to the report.
Bouygues has also been in discussions with rival operators Orange about a possible deal, but an acquisition by Orange could face greater regulatory hurdles than one by Iliad Telecom.
Bouygues Telecom has been in play since the failure of its parent company to secure a deal with Vivendi to acquire the latter’s telecom subsidiary SFR. Vivendi instead struck a deal with investment group Altice, controlling shareholder of cable operator Numericable.
Bouygues has not commented on the latest reports but has said that its preferred option is for the telecom unit to operate as a standalone company.