February 2, 2013 / 4:45 PM / in 5 years

Numericable moots tie-up with Vivendi's SFR - report

PARIS, Feb 2 (Reuters) - A tie-up between Numericable and Vivendi’s telecom unit SFR would make sense in the competitive French telecom market, the head of the French cable operator said in an interview with French daily Le Figaro on Saturday.

Eric Denoyer said merging Numericable, which has two-thirds of the high-speed broadband internet market in France, and SFR, which relies on mobile customers, would create value.

“This scenario has been studied since it responds to a real industrial logic,” he said.

The arrival of Free, Iliad’s low cost service, has sparked a price war in France since it arrival a year ago, leading to speculation about possible deals to consolidate the industry.

One option that has been mooted is for a tie up between Iliad and conglomerate Bouygues’ telecom unit.

Earlier in January, France’s antitrust watchdog opposed a proposal by Iliad and Vivendi to merge their mobile telecoms unit, according to press reports.

However, the head of SFR, Stephane Roussel, said last month in an interview with French daily Le Parisien that the company was not up for sale.

Reporting by Marine Pennetier and Elena Berton, editing by William Hardy

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