PARIS Dec 11 Video-sharing website Dailymotion,
owned by French telecoms operator Orange, is close to
signing a partnership in the United States and is working on
another in Asia to help it to take on market leader YouTube
"There is a nice probability for us to come to an agreement
in the coming weeks for the U.S. market," said Orange Chief
Executive Stephane Richard at the Le Web technology conference
in Paris on Wednesday.
Though he did not name the companies, Richard said the
potential U.S. partner is "a major player" in the digital
economy and described the Asian company as "a significant
Orange had been in talks with United States-based web portal
Yahoo this year to sell a 75 percent stake in
Dailymotion, but the deal foundered in May after France's
industry minister slammed the idea of one of the country's most
visible start-ups being "devoured" by Americans.
The French state owns 28.4 percent of Orange, so it has some
sway over the group's actions and management.
After the Yahoo deal failed Orange pledged to invest more
than 30 million euros ($41.3 million) in developing Dailymotion
to expand its user base and sign deals for more content.
The site remains much smaller than Google-owned YouTube and
other online video sites such as Vimeo. Dailymotion has about
120 million unique monthly visitors and 2.5 billion video views
each month. Web analytics firm Alexa places it as the 97th most
visited website in the world, while YouTube is in third place.
Richard said the partnerships in the United States and Asia
could include sales of minority stakes in Dailymotion, but that
it does not have to consider such a move.
"We never had the intention to sell [all of] Dailymotion to
anyone, including Yahoo," he said.
"What we are trying to do is to look for relevant industrial
and strategic partners to help Dailymotion accelerate its growth
... especially in the United States."