* Vivendi, Altice says exclusive talks continue
* Bouygues bid offers extra 1.85 bln euros
(Recasts with offer announced)
By Gwénaëlle Barzic
PARIS, March 20 Conglomerate Bouygues
re-opened the battle to buy France's second biggest telecoms
provider SFR on Thursday with a new offer less than a week after
owner Vivendi began exclusive talks with rival bidder
Bouygues also enlisted the support of the government through
the state CDC fund, along with existing Bouygues Telecom
shareholder JCDecaux Holding, parent company of listed outdoor
advertising firm JCDecaux, and the Pinault family.
CDC confirmed that it would take a 3 percent stake in a
combined Bouygues Telecom-SFR group.
Industry Minister Arnaud Montebourg has come out in favour
of the Bouygues offer and has raised a number of "problems" he
sees with the offer from Numericable, a business controlled by
the Dutch-listed group Altice.
Under its new proposal Bouygues said it will pay Vivendi
another 1.85 billion euros in cash, taking the cash element of
its offer to 13.15 billion euros and leaving Vivendi with just
21.5 percent of a separately listed Bouygues Telecom-SFR combine
instead of 43 percent under its previous proposal. Vivendi wants
to reduce its exposure to telecoms and focus on its media
Both bidders had already raised their offer once before
Vivendi decided on March 14 to enter exclusive talks with
Numericable over an offer of 11.75 billion euros ($16.4 billion)
in cash, plus a 32 percent stake in the resulting business.
Altice said on Thursday that it was still in exclusive talks
with Vivendi. Vivendi also said it was still in exclusive
negotiations and declined to comment on the Bouygues offer.
The choice of Numericable was seen as a blow to Bouygues
Telecom, the third-biggest player, which has been hit hard by
the price war sparked by new entrant, Iliad and its
Free Mobile service.
In a bid to allay possible regulatory concerns over the
position of the future combined entity, Bouygues has agreed to
sell its own mobile network and some spectrum to Iliad if it
If Numericable wins, a tie-up with SFR would allow it to
become a major player in mobile and grab a large network of
stores and sales staff. The combined company would have almost 7
million broadband customers and 21 million mobile customer.
(Additional reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Writing by Andrew