PARIS Feb 27 Bouygues, France's
third-place mobile operator, has hired investment banks HSBC and
Rothschild to advise it on a potential tie-up with larger rival
Vivendi's SFR, said two people close to the situation.
SFR, which is second-place in mobile behind Orange, was put
into play this week after Vivendi confirmed on Monday that it
had been approached for a deal by Altice, the parent
company of French cable operator Numericable.
Bouygues is now evaluating whether to try to crash the
party, the people said. Yet, it faces an uphill battle given
that merging the number two and three mobile operators would
certainly attract regulatory scrutiny, a handicap a Numericable
offer would not face.
A spokeswoman for Bouygues was not immediately available to
comment. A spokesman for Vivendi declined to comment.
(Reporting by Sophie Sassard and Leila Abboud; Editing by Maya