French cable operator Numericable has revealed that it had entered into exclusive negotiations with Omea Telecom to buy mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) Virgin Mobile France for an enterprise value of EUR325 million (USD445.79 million). The broadband provider stated that the acquisition would help it accelerate its strategy of convergence between high speed fixed and mobile connections. Numericable, which recently agreed to acquire French media group Vivendi’s telecoms arm SFR, revealed that Vivendi will contribute EUR200 million for the deal, which will be subject to regulatory approval of domestic competition watchdog Autorite de la Concurrence.
According to TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, Omea Telecom is owned by The Carphone Warehouse Group (46%), Richard Branson’s Virgin Group (46%) and the French company Financom (8%). In March 2014 reports in local media suggested that Carphone Warehouse Group was planning to sell its stake in the company. The retailer’s decision had also prompted its partner – the Virgin Group – to consider its own investment in the MVNO. The owners were said to have initially offered their shares to SFR, upon whose network Virgin Mobile piggybacks, although negotiations between the two sides stalled over price.