PARIS Aug 4 Bouygues said on Monday
that no third party had made an offer for its telecoms business,
days after rival Iliad revealed a surprise $15 billion
bid for T-Mobile US.
Bouygues said it issued the comments in response to what it
said were "recent statements in the press".
Iliad has been seen as a catalyst for consolidation among
France's four mobile players to ease the margin erosion and
cut-throat competition that has hurt the industry since the
arrival of its Free Mobile brand in 2012.
By turning its focus to the United States, Iliad may be less
likely to make a domestic deal. Some analysts have also
suggested, however, that this could be a tactic to put pressure
on Bouygues on its price expectations.
Earlier this year, Iliad made an informal offer to buy
Bouygues Telecom, France's No. 3 mobile carrier, and also took
part in talks with Orange about a joint bid, sources
told Reuters. Bouygues rejected these overtures on the grounds
that the prices floated were too low.
"Bouygues reiterates that Bouygues Telecom is continuing the
implementation of its transformation plan announced on June 11,
2014 aimed at securing an independent future," Bouygues said in
a statement on Monday.
"In addition, the group has not received to date any
takeover bids for its subsidiary Bouygues Telecom."
The company could not immediately be reached for further
Bouygues Telecom said in June that it planned to cut 1,516
jobs, or 17 percent of its staff, to reduce costs to ensure its
future after prices in the industry had dropped by a third since
Bouygues Telecom also lost out in a bidding war in April to
buy bigger rival SFR. And Orange called off
talks toward a possible bid for Bouygues Telecom in early July,
saying the conditions were not met for a deal.
(Reporting by James Regan; Editing by Leigh Thomas and Jane