The board of French conglomerate Bouygues has rejected the €10 billion offer placed by Numericable-SFR to buy Bouygues Telecom, the country’s fourth-ranked national telecom operator.
According to French press, sources cited a perceived lack of seriousness in the bid and a giant risk of execution. According to French financial daily Les Echos, citing a source close to the Bouygues board, Numericable-SFR’s plan to fund the acquisition through debt raised particular concern.
Bouygues also cited the potential impact of the consolidation of the market on its employees, echoing concerns raised by French economy minister Emmanuel Macron. Numericable-SFR had proposed to sell a chunk of Bouygues assets to rival operator Free to assuage competition concerns about the consolidation of the market to three operators.
Bouygues CEO Martin Bouygues told RTL Radio today that the telco was not for sale, but denied that he had come under political pressure to turn down Numericable-SFR and its entrepreneur majority owner, Patrick Drahi.
Bouygues said he was not convinced that Drahi could put together the financing required for the operation while at the same time meeting the concerns of the competition regulator.