According to online journal Challenges.fr, Vivendi-owned broadcaster Canal Plus is considering staking a claim for a mobile licence in Reunion, ahead of anticipated anti-trust scrutiny of Altice Group’s acquisition of French mobile operator SFR. With the EUR13.5 billion (USD18.5 billion) takeover deal slated to include SFR’s assets in Reunion (Societe Reunionnaise de Radiotelephone [SRR]) and Mayotte (SFR Mayotte), Altice could find itself under pressure to divest certain assets, as it already owns a 77% stake in Outremer Telecom, a full-service telco active in both territories. SFR and Outremer compete with Orange in both markets, with SFR the dominant cellco in each instance, and the French authorities are unlikely to endorse a scenario that would create a two-player market. Last month Altice Investor Relations director Richard Williams told TeleGeography: ‘Yes, there may be some issues here. We will discuss with the regulators and discover how much of an issue it is for them. We don’t have any early indications.’
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Canal Plus Overseas has a presence in the French overseas territories after securing a 51% controlling stake in internet service provider (ISP) Mediaserv from the Loret Group in February this year. Should the speculation prove accurate, it would be an ironic twist: Canal Plus owner Vivendi sparked the initial wave of consolidation by selling SFR to Altice. TeleGeography notes that domestic broadband provider Mobius has long coveted a mobile licence in Reunion, but its recent acquisition by Altice Group has presumably put paid to its ambitions in that sector.