Vivendi's SFR in talks with Numericable -paper
PARIS Oct 13 (Reuters) - French mobile phone operator SFR, a unit of Vivendi, is in talks with unlisted cable company Numericable over a possible tie-up, the daily Le Figaro reported on Saturday.
Le Figaro did not cite its sources but said in an online report that the two companies had been in "very serious" discussions for around two weeks.
It said Vivendi had hired BNP Paribas and Goldman Sachs to work on a possible deal, while Numericable was being advised by Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan.
Both Vivendi and Numericable declined to comment, but a source close to the matter said that there was pressure to find solutions to the current competition in the market.
"We are in a very turbulent market. Everybody is talking to everybody and trying to find solutions," the source said.
Vivendi has been reviewing its strategy and business portfolio as it seeks to reverse a deep slump in its share price over the last few years. It is also working to slash annual operating costs at SFR.
The company's former cash cow, SFR has been hammered by a price war started when rival Iliad undercut it with an ultra-low-cost "Free Mobile" offer, forcing it to spend money to try and keep clients.
SFR has around 20 million mobile subscribers and around 5 million ADSL Internet subscribers, while Numericable has around 500,000 users of its ultra high-speed Internet cable.
Le Figaro estimated SFR is worth around 15 billion euros versus just over 3 billion euros for Numericable. (Reporting by Catherine Bremer and Gwenaelle Barzic)
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