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France's Orange considers buying back its TDF unit - report

PARIS, May 11 (Reuters) - France’s Orange is reviewing a possible acquisition of its former unit TDF, a telecoms infrastructure operator, L’Express magazine reported on Tuesday.

Orange, the leading telecoms operator in France, sold TDF almost 20 years ago to reduce its debt.

But, according to L’Express, Orange is mulling combining TDF with it recently launched European masts company TOTEM, as infrastructure valuations recently surged following the interest from investors such as U.S. private equity firm KKR and Spain’s Cellnex.

“Orange does not wish to comment on this but stresses that TOTEM wants to grow both organically and via acquisitions,” the company said. “All opportunities allowing us to reach this target will be closely examined.”

TDF, which had revenues of 687 million euros ($835.80 million) last year, is owned by funds, including Brookfield Infrastructure Group, PSP Investments and APG Asset Management.

Orange said earlier this year TOTEM would regroup 25,500 tower sites in Spain and France, Orange’s two biggest markets, with assets that generated 300 million euros in core operating profit last year.

On its website, TDF says its has 19,000 similar sites in France. ($1 = 0.8220 euros) (Reporting by Benoit Van Overstraeten; Editing by Louise Heavens)