French telecoms operators Orange and Bouygues have separately announced that they are open to potential tie-ups in the French market. According to a press release, Orange France said that consolidation in the sector will have positive long-term effects on investment and consumers. The operator pointed out that it will explore the ‘opportunities offered by the current reshaping of the French telecoms landscape’, while highlighting that its leading position also allows for total independence.
For its part, Bouygues Telecom, which lost a bid for larger rival SFR to domestic broadband provider Numericable in April 2014, revealed that it is also open to a tie-up with another operator, Bloomberg reports. Bouygues’ chief financial officer Philippe Marien was cited as saying: ‘All scenarios are on the table… All market operators are looking at hypotheses, opportunities, work sharing, partnerships and commercial exchanges.’ However, the two operators stopped short of revealing the names of any potential targets. Interestingly, domestic newspaper Les Echos reported that Orange CEO Stephane Richard and Bouygues CFO Philippe Marien met on ‘several occasions’, allegedly to discuss a possible combination of their operations; a potential merger between the two operators, however, will attract the scrutiny of telecoms regulator Autorite de Regulation des Communications Electroniques et des Postes (Arcep) and competition watchdog the Autorite de la Concurrence.