PARIS May 3 Entertainment group Vivendi
has offered to buy France Telecom's
Dailymotion, an online video-sharing service at the centre of a
row over political interference in French companies, news
website Wansquare reported on Friday.
A consortium made up of Iliad founder Xavier Niel,
Lazard banker Matthieu Pigasse and industrialist Pierre
Berge has also made a bid, although at a much lower price than
previously offered by U.S.-based web portal Yahoo, the
France Telecom had been in talks to sell a 75-percent stake
in Dailymotion to Yahoo, but the plan met with opposition from
French Industry Minister Arnaud Montebourg.
Montebourg said he disliked the idea of one of France's most
successful start-ups being "devoured" by Americans.
His intervention reignited a debate about state interference
in the French economy. French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici
on Thursday distanced himself from Montebourg's stance saying:
"I was not particularly involved in this case."
The head of France Telecom, Stephane Richard, told Le Figaro
newspaper he had already received new proposals from "European
media giants", without giving details.
Vivendi declined to comment. Iliad was not immediately
available to comment on the reports of its interest in the
website which competes with Google's YouTube.