French cableco Numericable Group – which agreed to acquire domestic telecoms giant SFR for USD23 billion in April – has signed a closing agreement to buy 100% of the capital of Omea Telecom Limited. According to a press release, the acquisition agreement was reached after successful negotiations with employee representatives. The deal remains subject to approval from the relevant administrative authorities.
TeleGeography notes that Omea Telecom is a holding company, which markets mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) services in France under the brand names Virgin Mobile France, Tele2 Mobile France and Casino Mobile. 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 prompted 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.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, in May 2014 Numericable entered into exclusive negotiations with Omea Telecom to buy MVNO Virgin Mobile France for an enterprise value of EUR325 million (USD445.79 million). The broadband provider stated that the acquisition would help it to accelerate its convergence strategy. Numericable, noted that former SFR owner Vivendi would contribute EUR200 million to the deal.