French media group Vivendi is seeking an improved offer for its telecoms unit SFR from domestic broadband provider Numericable, which is majority owned by Luxembourg-based investment fund Altice Group, after Bouygues Telecom unexpectedly boosted its bid last week, Bloomberg reports. According to people familiar with the talks, while Vivendi still reportedly favours Altice’s proposal because of a higher likelihood of antitrust approval, the French media company would like Altice to narrow the gap between the two offers. A spokesman for Vivendi, however, said the company remains in exclusive talks with Altice.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, earlier this month Vivendi decided to enter into exclusive negotiations with Altice Group for its telecoms unit SFR, after examining the final offers it received from both parties and deeming Altice’s bid ‘to be the most pertinent for the group’s shareholders and employees, with the opportunity for effective execution.’ The Altice bid comprises a EUR11.75 billion (USD16.23 billion) payment to Vivendi and a 32% share in the equity of the newly combined entity. It also provides Vivendi with pre-determined exit conditions. However, in a new twist, last week Bouygues Telecom increased its offer for rival domestic cellco SFR, with the updated offer comprising EUR13.15 billion in upfront payment and a 21.5% share in the equity of the newly combined entity.