Bouygues searching for investors to improve SFR bid - sources

PARIS, March 26 Wed Mar 26, 2014 6:56am EDT

PARIS, March 26 (Reuters) - French conglomerate Bouygues is searching for additional investors to further improve its offer to buy its larger French telecom rival Vivendi's SFR, said two people familiar with the situation.

Bouygues is "sending a dossier to a large spectrum of players, banks, insurers, private equity firms" with the aim of finding partners to offer Vivendi a quicker exit from SFR, said one of the people.

"Now we are seeking more investors to increase again the cash portion and offer Vivendi a full exit," the person added.

Bouygues' effort to buy SFR faces a high hurdle because Vivendi is in exclusive negotiations with another company, French cable group Numericable, until April 4.

During the period of exclusivity, Vivendi does not have the right to speak to any other bidder. Vivendi is working on the deal with Numericable, which will be presented for vote at a board meeting on April 4, said two other people close to the situation.

Asked for comment, a spokesman for Bouygues said the company believed its current offer for SFR was the most attractive.

"Bouygues is working so as to be able to give Vivendi the option to sell at the closing of the deal more shares in the new company, if Vivendi so chooses," said the spokesman.

On January 20, Bouygues submitted its latest public offer for SFR that included 13.15 billion euros in cash and a 21.5 percent stake in the new company.

Numericable's offer includes 11.75 billion euros in cash payment to Vivendi and a 32 percent share in the new company. (Reporting by Sophie Sassard, Leila Abboud, Mathieu Protard, and Gwenaelle Barzic; Editing by Andrew Callus)