Bouygues raises bid for SFR ahead of key board vote

PARIS, April 4 Fri Apr 4, 2014 5:49am EDT

PARIS, April 4 (Reuters) - Bouygues said it had submitted a "substantially improved offer" for Vivendi's SFR telecom unit, hours ahead of a decisive Vivendi board meeting over the sale on Friday.

French cable operator Numericable was best placed to win the bidding war for SFR, said two people familiar with the matter before the fresh Bouygues offer came out.

Numericable, and its parent company Altice, have been in exclusive talks with Vivendi over SFR since being chosen as the preferred bidder on March 14.

But Bouygues refuses to bow out and its last-minute offer includes 15 billion euros ($20.57 billion) in cash and would leave Vivendi with a 10 percent stake in the new company at deal closing.

Bouygues would hold 51 percent and outside investors, including France's CDC state-backed investment fund and additional parties, would hold 39 percent.

It said the new offer valued SFR at 16 billion euros before synergies were taken into account. ($1 = 0.7291 Euros) (Reporting by Leila Abboud)

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