PARIS 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 regional operator".
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 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."
($1 = 0.7261 euros)
(Reporting by Leila Abboud; Editing by David Goodman)