France Tel to invest up to 50 mln eur in Dailymotion -report

PARIS Tue May 21, 2013 2:37pm EDT

PARIS May 21 (Reuters) - France Telecom plans to invest between 30 and 50 million euros ($64 million) in its video-sharing website Dailymotion and begin a fresh search for a partner in the autumn, its chief executive said on Tuesday.

Stephane Richard also said in an interview with RTL radio that "the door is not closed" to Yahoo Inc, which had been in talks to buy a 75 percent stake in Dailymotion in a deal that would have valued Europe's largest video website at $300 million.

French government officials had raised concerns that the country would lose control over one of its biggest Internet industry successes if the deal went ahead, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters earlier this month.

The government is France Telecom's largest shareholder, with a 27 percent stake.

"I think that perhaps we could still hope to continue the talks ... even if we did not agree on some points," Richard said.

After the talks with Yahoo collapsed, Richard said the priority for the company was to find a partner to develop Dailymotion outside Europe.

"We have a two-step plan: a first stage that aims to pursue investments that are necessary for Dailymotion to avoid falling behind its competitors, notably Youtube," Richard said.

"The second step will be a partnership that could bring viewers to Dailymotion," he added.

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