The Financial Times is reporting that UK-based mobile group Vodafone has expressed what has been called ‘highly preliminary’ interest in acquiring Vivendi’s French cellular operation SFR, which is the country’s second largest cellco behind France Telecom-Orange. The report, which cites unnamed industry sources, says that SFR is also attracting the attention of private equity investors. Vodafone sold its 44% stake in SFR to Vivendi in June last year for EUR7.95 billion (USD11.25 billion), with the UK firm known to be keen to limit its operations to those companies where it has majority control. Vivendi, meanwhile, recently revealed that it was looking to offload its 53% interest in Moroccan operator Maroc Telecom, but selling SFR would be a major step for the group, given that the cellco represents one of Vivendi’s biggest potential earners.
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