SFR set for sale to Numericable

€15bn deal means Numericable would supply internet and TV services to more than 10 million homes across France

24 February 2014

The on-off sale of French telecoms operator SFR to cable TV and internet operator Numericable could be back on the table.

Talks have apparently intensified between representatives of Altice, the parent company of Numericable, and Vivendi, which owns SFR.

The deal would value SFR at more than €15bn.

Vivendi has reached an agreement in principle to sell SFR to Numericable, and the parties aim to reach a firm deal in a few weeks, French newspaper Les Echos said.

Numericable, a leading cable television provider and internet access provider in metropolitan France, is 40 percent owned by Altice.

Its founder Patrick Drahi has made no secret of his desire to buy SFR, while bosses at Vivendi face a choice between floating SFR on the stock market or selling it.

However, negotiations between the two companies have broken down before.

If the sale does go ahead this time, Altice would have a 50% share of SFR, while Vivendi would have 32%.

Numericable’s fibre-optic network, which has the capacity to deliver high-speed broadband connections to up to 5 million homes, could be available to SFR’s 5.2 million customers who receive the internet via ASDL.

Neither Vivendi or Altice were available to comment on the report.

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