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Mar 17, 2014

Numericable’s Drahi sees “national champion” via SFR deal

PARIS, March 17 (Reuters) – The billionaire founder of
Numericable believes he can create a French “national
champion” by combining fixed-line and mobile telecoms services
following his cable firm’s purchase of Vivendi’s SFR
unit.

Speaking for the first time since winning a takeover battle
for SFR against Bouygues Telecom, Patrick Drahi said
on Monday the deal was a sign of “convergence” between fixed and
mobile telecoms operators.

Mar 14, 2014

Vivendi picks Numericable for exclusive talks on SFR

PARIS (Reuters) – Vivendi (VIV.PA: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) will enter three weeks of exclusive talks with cable group Numericable (NUME.PA: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) in an effort to finalize a deal to sell its telecom unit SFR for 11.75 billion euros ($16.4 billion) in cash, plus a stake in the resulting business.

The decision is a blow to conglomerate Bouygues (BOUY.PA: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), which had also bid for SFR.

Mar 14, 2014

Vivendi ‘prefers’ Numericable in SFR bidding – minister

PARIS, March 14 (Reuters) – Vivendi has decided
“whatever the cost” to pick local cable group Numericable
to buy its French telecoms unit SFR, France’s industry
minister said on Friday just before the seller’s board convened
to decide on competing bids.

Arnaud Montebourg, said he believed Vivendi “preferred” the
Numericable offer over that of conglomerate Bouygues
despite the “numerous problems and questions” that he saw with
that outcome, such as the amount of debt the newly combined
company would have.

Mar 13, 2014

Bouygues, Numericable raise bids in French telco fight

PARIS (Reuters) – French groups Bouygues (BOUY.PA: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and Numericable (NUME.PA: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) have both improved the terms of their bids for Vivendi’s (VIV.PA: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) telecoms unit SFR, ahead of a decision by the seller on Friday that will reshape the country’s mobile industry.

Construction-to-telecoms conglomerate Bouygues said on Thursday it would raise the cash portion of its bid to 11.3 billion euros ($15.7 billion) from 10.5 billion, while cutting the stake Vivendi would be left with in a combined SFR-Bouygues to 43 percent from 46 percent.

Mar 13, 2014

Bouygues raises bid for Vivendi’s SFR to shut out Numericable

PARIS, March 13 (Reuters) – French conglomerate Bouygues
enriched the cash element of its offer for media group
Vivendi’s telecoms unit SFR on Thursday in an attempt
to seal a deal and shut out rival bidder Numericable.

Bouygues said it would increase the cash portion of the bid
to 11.3 billion euros ($15.7 billion) from 10.5 billion
previously, while reducing the stake Vivendi is left with in the
combined SFR-Bouygues telecoms business to 43 percent, from 46
percent previously.

Mar 12, 2014

Vivendi hunts for the right telecom exit

PARIS, March 12 (Reuters) – The traditional shoppers’
warning is caveat emptor, or “buyer beware”. When Vivendi’s
board meets on Friday to choose between two bids for
its French telecom unit SFR, “seller beware” may be more
appropriate.

Both offers – from conglomerate Bouygues and local
cable operator Numericable – leave Vivendi with a
significant minority stake in the newly-created operator and
continued exposure to the French telecom market, which has been
in the throes of a price war since 2012.

Mar 10, 2014

Iliad profits soar, sees lift from merger of rivals

PARIS, March 10 (Reuters) – Shares in French low-cost
telecoms company Iliad soared 15 percent on Monday
after it announced industry-beating sales and profit growth and
signed what could be a transformative mobile network deal with
larger rival Bouygues.

Iliad, backed by tycoon Xavier Niel, stands to benefit from
sector consolidation in prospect after media company Vivendi
received two bids for the second-biggest French mobile
service, SFR.

Mar 9, 2014

Bouygues to sell network to Iliad if SFR bid accepted

PARIS (Reuters) – France’s Bouygues Telecom (BOUY.PA: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) has agreed to sell its mobile network and much of its spectrum to smaller rival Iliad (ILD.PA: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) as a way to head off competition regulators’ concerns about its pending bid for Vivendi’s SFR (VIV.PA: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz).

If Vivendi picks Bouygues’ bid for SFR over a rival offer – and if regulators approve the merger – then Bouygues will sell 15,000 mobile antennas and some of its mobile spectrum to Iliad for up to 1.8 billion euros ($2.50 billion), according to statements from both companies on Sunday.

Mar 6, 2014

Orange pledges stable operating margins despite France woes

PARIS, March 6 (Reuters) – Orange shares jumped to
a four-month high on Thursday after France’s largest telecom
operator forecast stable margins this year and higher core
profit than analysts were expecting.

Orange forecast earnings before interest, tax, depreciation
and amortisation (EBITDA) of 12.1-12.6 billion euros for 2014,
above the Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S poll average of 12.08 billion.

Mar 5, 2014

Four billionaires, one telecoms company up for grabs

PARIS, March 5 (Reuters) – Two French billionaires are vying
to buy telecoms carrier SFR while a third watches closely from
the sidelines. A fourth could be the kingmaker.

SFR’s owner, Vivendi, confirmed receipt of two
offers for France’s second-biggest telecom group on Wednesday.
The bidders are cable operator Numericable
– backed by Patrick Drahi, number 215 on Forbes’
billionaires list – and Bouygues – the family company
of Martin Bouygues, Forbes’ billionaire number 408.

    • About Hyungwon

      "As a photojournalist for more than a quarter of century, Hyungwon Kang has been a witness to history. Kang has worked for Reuters, The Associated Press, Los Angeles Times and TIME Magazine. During his tenure in journalism, Kang has served as a Photographer, Photo Editor, Front Page Photo Editor, Photo Assignment Editor, and as a Manager of Photo Department. Currently, Kang works as Senior Picture Editor at Reuters Pictures North America Desk. Duties include assigning and editing of news, sports and feature coverage of the U.S. and Canada as well as participating in news coverage as needed."
      Joined Reuters:
      2001
      Languages:
      English, Korean, Spanish, Mandarin Chinese
      Awards:
      Pulitzer, 1993
      Pulitzer, 1999
    • More from Hyungwon

      Publications:
      "From the Streets to the Olympics, (Korea, Democracy and the 24th Olympiad, 1987-88)
      Art Space publications, 1989"
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