Vivendi SA (EPA:VIV), a French-based entertainment and telecommunications company confirmed that it received two binding offers from Altice SA (AMS:ATC), the parent company of Numericable and Bouygues SA (EPA:EN) to acquire a controlling stake in SFR, its mobile subsidiary.
According to Vivendi SA (EPA:VIV), the proposals of the two entities include financing commitment, and its supervisory board will now start reviewing the offers. The company said the board will consider all available options regarding its future, its mobile unit, and the best interest of its employees and shareholders.
Vivendi SA (EPA:VIV) did not provide any details regarding the proposals submitted by Altice SA (AMS:ATC) and Bouygues SA (EPA:EN).
Altice reportedly prepared $20 billion bid
The New York Times recently reported that Altice SA (AMS:ATC), a French-based cable and telecommunications provider and its subsidiary Numericable were preparing a $20 billion offer to acquire SFR based on information from people familiar with the situation.
At the time of the report, the sources were not certain about the timing of the submission of the takeover offer. The sources said Altice SA (AMS:ATC) already lined up some banks to provide debt financing for the deal. Les Échos, a French newspaper first reported about the potential offer for SFR.
Vivendi spin-off plans
Vivendi SA (EPA:VIV) previously announced its plan to spin off SFR, and confirmed reports that Altice SA (AMS:ATC) indicated its interest to establish a potential partnership between SFR and Numericable. At the time, the company did not receive any formal offer from Altice.
In 2013, SFR’s revenue declined 9.6% to €10,199 million from the previous year due to the impact of price reductions, which was caused by strong competition and tariff cuts implemented by regulators. Its EBITDA fell 16.2% to €2,766 million.
According to Vivendi SA (EPA:VIV), SFR’s mobile customer base increased 756,000 and its broadband residential customer base added 182,000 new customers last year. In addition, the company said SFR continues to carry out its planned transformation, and was able to reduce its fixed and variable operating expenditures by more than €1 billion excluding non-recurring items since 2011.
SFR entered a strategic partnership with Bouygues Telecom last January. The two companies agreed to roll out shared networks in an area that covers 57% of the population in France. The agreement allows SFT and Boygues Telecom to improve mobile network coverage, service to customers, and generate significant savings in the future.