Orange doesn't see French mobile deal talks restarting soon

PARIS, July 29 Tue Jul 29, 2014 6:53am EDT

PARIS, July 29 (Reuters) - Orange Chief Executive Stephane Richard said on Tuesday that he does not expect talks on French mobile consolidation that were abandoned in early July to restart soon.

A price war sparked by low-cost player Iliad's arrival to the mobile market in January 2012, has resulted in open talk of consolidation in recent months, with third-place Bouygues seen as a takeover target.

Orange called off talks towards a possible bid for Bouygues in early July, saying the conditions were not met. The deal would have required Orange to divest significant parts of Bouygues' customer base and network to Iliad, so as to allay antitrust concerns.

"I do not expect deal talks to restart quickly," Richard said on an analyst conference call after publishing second-quarter results.

"Maybe we'll see it sometime next year but I don't see this happening this autumn." (Reporting by Gwenaelle Barzic; Writing by Leila Abboud; Editing by James Regan)

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