French construction-to-telecoms conglomerate Bouygues has categorically denied that it is in talks with other French operators after news service La Lettre de l’Expansion reported that Orange CEO Stéphane Richard and Martin Bouygues had talks about possible consolidation at the beginning of March.
“Following the article published in La Lettre de l’Expansion on 13 March 2017 entitled ‘Orange-Bouygues, un accord en vue’, Bouygues wishes to categorically deny the existence of any discussions with other operators with a view to consolidating the French telecoms market,” said the company.
La Lettre de l’Expansion reported that Bouygues’ bankers were looking for a deal that would see Bouygues Telecom valued at about the same level as when negotiations were taking place last year – about €10 billion.
Any deal would be expected to involve the other main French telecom players – Free and SFR – to allay competition concerns. The most widely discussed scenario involves the Free Mobile taking over Bouygues wireless spectrum while Orange and SFR share the fourth operator’s subscribers and retail outlets.
Bouygues broke off talks with Orange early last year after failing to find agreement with the larger player on key elements including the level of participation of Bouygues in Orange post the acquisition, the risks of execution and the value placed on Bouygues Telecom, as well as the fate of its employees.
Bouygues said at the time that it would pursue a standalone strategy in a market that still had growth potential.
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