Bouygues Telecom is reportedly said to be considering the adoption of an austerity plan, which will see the operator severely cut its workforce, and reduce operating costs and investment, following the failed acquisition of its domestic rival SFR, newspaper Le Figaro reports. Another reason cited for the potential introduction of the plan is the launch of low-cost cellco Free Mobile in January 2012, which contributed to a reduction in Bouygues’ subscriber base and a drop in its average revenue per user (ARPU). Bouygues is reportedly looking to lay off as much as 23% of its current workforce, equivalent to around 2,000 jobs. Alain Bernard, representative of the Worker’s Force, claims that the job cuts are likely to be announced before the summer.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, in March 2014 Bouygues Telecom submitted its bid to acquire larger rival SFR, offering EUR10.5 billion in cash and 46% of the share capital of the newly merged entity. Despite revising its bid on several occasions, the new offers failed to catch the eye of SFR’s parent Vivendi, which instead entered into exclusive negotiations with domestic cableco Numericable and its parent Altice Group in mid-March 2014. In the event, April 2014 saw Vivendi accept the Numericable/Altice takeover offer, which consisted of EUR13.5 billion in cash and a 20% stake in the enlarged SFR-Numericable group.