PARIS, March 26 French conglomerate Bouygues
is searching for additional investors to further
improve its offer to buy its larger French telecom rival
Vivendi's SFR, said two people familiar with the
Bouygues is "sending a dossier to a large spectrum of
players, banks, insurers, private equity firms" with the aim of
finding partners to offer Vivendi a quicker exit from SFR, said
one of the people.
"Now we are seeking more investors to increase again the
cash portion and offer Vivendi a full exit," the person added.
Bouygues' effort to buy SFR faces a high hurdle because
Vivendi is in exclusive negotiations with another company,
French cable group Numericable, until April 4.
During the period of exclusivity, Vivendi does not have the
right to speak to any other bidder. Vivendi is working on the
deal with Numericable, which will be presented for vote at a
board meeting on April 4, said two other people close to the
Asked for comment, a spokesman for Bouygues said the company
believed its current offer for SFR was the most attractive.
"Bouygues is working so as to be able to give Vivendi the
option to sell at the closing of the deal more shares in the new
company, if Vivendi so chooses," said the spokesman.
On January 20, Bouygues submitted its latest public offer
for SFR that included 13.15 billion euros in cash and a 21.5
percent stake in the new company.
Numericable's offer includes 11.75 billion euros in cash
payment to Vivendi and a 32 percent share in the new company.
(Reporting by Sophie Sassard, Leila Abboud, Mathieu Protard,
and Gwenaelle Barzic; Editing by Andrew Callus)