Numericable shareholder eyes expansion in Belgium - press

BRUSSELS Fri May 9, 2014 4:30am EDT

BRUSSELS May 9 (Reuters) - The main shareholder of French cable group Numericable is looking to buy assets in Belgium, principally cable operator Voo and possibly a mobile player such as Mobistar or BASE, Belgian financial daily L'Echo wrote on Friday.

Luxembourg-based holding company Altice, which is set to own 60 percent of Numericable, is looking to expand by taking control of Belgian cable operator Voo, which covers most of the south of Belgium, L'Echo said.

"Separately, Altice is not only eyeing Voo to expand in television and internet, but also Mobistar and BASE," L'Echo wrote, without giving details on the source of its information.

A spokesman for Altice and Numericable, which already offers cable TV and Internet in parts of Belgium including capital Brussels, had no immediate comment.

Numericable became a consolidator in the French market in April, when it won a bid battle for Vivendi's telecoms arm SFR with Altice's backing, in a move that will create the second-biggest player on the French market.

Numericable is paying 13.5 billion euros ($18.7 billion) in cash and giving Vivendi a 20 percent stake in the merged entity. Altice will own 60 percent of the combined entity.

Belgium's second-largest mobile phone operator Mobistar is majority-owned by Orange and speculation about the future of the French group's stake in the company has been the main driver of its share price.

BASE, Belgium's third-mobile operator, is fully owned by Dutch group KPN.

($1 = 0.7214 Euros) (Reporting by Robert-Jan Bartunek; Editing by Philip Blenkinsop and Mark Potter)

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