Altice has reportedly said it has no plans to increase its offer for Vivendi’s SFR after bidding rival Bouygues raised its own offer last week, according to Bloomberg.
Altice (Paris, France) has the flexibility to revise its bid between now and April 4 – when exclusive talks with Vivendi (Paris, France) are set to end – but believes it has the support of Vivendi, which is likely to face fewer antitrust and other regulatory hurdles in a sale to Altice than one involving Bouygues (Paris, France).
Both bids are value the SFR business at more than $20 billion, according to Bloomberg, with Bouygues hoping to merge SFR with its existing wireless business and Altice hoping to combine it with Numericable, its French cable unit.
A takeover by Bouygues would reduce the number of mobile phone operators in France from four to just three – those being Orange (Paris, France), the former state-owned monopoly, plus Bouygues and Iliad (Paris, France).
Consolidation would be welcomed by other French operators, which have reported declining profits ever since Iliad launched a price war on entering the market in early 2012.
It also appears to have the backing of French authorities, with French industry minister Arnaud Montebourg arguing that “destructive competition” will continue to harm the industry in a four-player market.
Last week, Bouygues tabled an offer for SFR that would include €13.15 billion ($18.11 billion) in cash — €1.85 more than it was previously offering —and leave Vivendi with a 21.5% stake in the combined company, down from a previous offer of 43%.
Altice, meanwhile, is offering €11.75 billion and a 32% stake in the business for Vivendi.
Bouygues is also reported to have received financial backing from a government-controlled fund for its bid.