Numericable backer Drahi says will not raise SFR bid - report
PARIS, March 11
PARIS, March 11 (Reuters) - Patrick Drahi, the controlling shareholder of French cable group Numericable, said he would not raise his bid for Vivendi's SFR, a day ahead of the seller's deadline for final offers, according to an interview in Les Echos.
Numericable is vying to buy SFR, France's second-biggest telecom operator, alongside Bouygues, the third-biggest player.
It has offered Vivendi 10.9 billion euros in cash, plus a 32 percent stake in the combined entity. Bouygues' bid includes 10.5 billion euros in cash, and a 46 percent in the new company.
"The offer I've made has been valid since March 5. I have no reason to modify it. I am a man of my word," he told the paper.
Drahi also added that the Numericable-SFR tie-up would create a stronger company that could capitalise on consumers' increasing appetite for high-speed broadband at home and on their mobiles.
"Marrying our network with the commericial strength of the SFR brand, we will be capable of recruiting almost 5 million customers in four years," he predicted.
Drahi said the combined Numericable-SFR would generate "more than 1 billion euros in cash flow synergies per year".
The tie-up would not result in any job cuts, he confirmed, matching a promise made by rival bidder Bouygues. France's government has already said it will monitor the sale of SFR to ensure it does not threaten jobs or network investments.