Amid resistance from the French government, Bouygues has rejected an unsolicited bid by Altice to acquire the company's telecommunications subsidiary. The tie-up would have created France's biggest provider.
French conglomerate Bouygues confirmed Wendesday it would not let Numericable-SFR acquire its telecommunications subsidiary. The company's board of directors had unanimously decided to reject the bid on late Tuesday.
Business insiders claimed that 10 billion euros ($11.2 billion) were offered for the takeover. However, Altice declined to comment on this figure.
Bouygues is France's third largest telecommunications operator. Rumors had been surfacing claiming Altice owner and billionaire Patrick Darhi was eager to acquire the company. Together, Bouygues and Numericable-SFR would have eclipsed France's biggest telecommunications provider Orange by far. Combined, both companies would have catered to 30 million mobile phone customers and accounted for 15 billion euro worth of revenue.
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Earlier this week, the country's Finance Minister, Emmanuel Macron, had expressed discomfort at the prospect of such a dominant market actor. He warned that this would risk spawning a communications provider entitled to state support due to its strong position. Moreover, the merger would most likely imply job cuts, he stressed.
Darhi is also striving to grow his business outside of Europe. Altice had recently announced that it was intending to take over 70 percent of US cable network Suddenlink Communications.
br/hg (Reuters, AFP)