PARIS May 5 There is no need for France
Telecom's Dailymotion, an online video-sharing website,
to remain wholly French-owned, and all options must be studied,
the junior minister for digital economy, Fleur Pellerin, told
French media on Sunday.
Last week, Industry Minister Arnaud Montebourg said he had
blocked Yahoo Inc's plan to buy a majority stake in
Dailymotion because the U.S. group wanted to "devour" its
smaller competitor, prompting another row over political
interference in French companies.
"We don't live in a closed economy. The digital economy is
not a Gallic village," Pellerin said in an interview in French
weekly Journal Du Dimanche. But she said the company, its
technology, engineers and jobs must remain anchored in France.
Yahoo had been in talks to acquire a 75 percent stake in
Dailymotion, owned by France Telecom's Orange, a deal
that would have valued Europe's largest video website at $300
Pellerin said the deal with Yahoo was not balanced enough
and would have led to the disappearance of Dailymotion, but she
said it would be an economic and industrial dead-end for
Dailymotion to remain exclusively French.
"Our gems are struggling to grow. They need help," Pellerin
"If this requires a tour with funds from Silicon Valley
alongside Orange acting as a reference, this is not a problem
for me," she said. "All options need to be studied."
France Telecom's Chief Executive Stephane Richard is
preparing a trip to Silicon Valley, the weekly said without
Entertainment group Vivendi as well as a consortium
made up of Iliad founder Xavier Niel, Lazard
banker Matthieu Pigasse and industrialist Pierre Berge have made
bids to buy the website.
Montebourg's blocking of the talks is another blow to
France's business image after his verbal attacks last year on
firms seeking to shut ailing industrial sites drew international