PARIS May 2 France Telecom will search
for a new partner for video-sharing website Dailymotion after
France derailed its plan to sell a majority stake to Yahoo Inc
, its CEO was quoted saying.
In an interview with newspaper Les Echos, Chief Executive
Stephane Richard complained that the intervention of the state
was inappropriate and the group's strategy for its subsidiary,
which competes with Google Inc's YouTube, should be set
by its management and board.
"Dailymotion is a unit of France Telecom and not of the
state. It is the company, its management and board that should
manage this issue," Richard said.
"We are not looking for financial backers. Our priority is
to find a partner who can help develop Dailymotion outside
Europe," he said.
"We have looked at more than 60 possible partners in France
and abroad before focusing on Yahoo," Richard said, adding that
the two groups had been close to signing a deal before the
government intervention. "Now we will restart our search."
Yahoo had been in talks to acquire a 75 percent stake in
Dailymotion, but Industry Minister Arnaud Montebourg disliked
the idea of one of the country's most successful start-ups being
"devoured" by Americans and pushed for 50-50 ownership, leading
the talks to collapse.
France Telecom, whose largest shareholder is the state with
27 percent, often grapples with state influence. Its chief
executive is named by the government and it does not have a free
hand in laying off workers.
But the intervention on the sale of a majority stake in
Dailymotion, which employs roughly 165 people and would have had
negligible impact on jobs, has been criticised by investors and
analysts as heavy handed and bad for foreign investment.
Richard said there was no conflict with the state and
rejected the idea that the company founded in 2005 would benefit
from an injection of public money.