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Vivendi reveals plans to demerge SFR

Bouygues Telecom has entered into exclusive negotiations with rival Free to sell its mobile phone network and portfolio of frequencies for “up to €1.8bn”

French group Vivendi has revealed plans to demerge its mobile operator subsidiary SFR. The group said SFR would gain greater freedom on strategy and developing partnerships as a result of the demerger.

SFR is France’s second placed operator, according to Informa’s WCIS, with 22 million subscribers as of June 2013, trailing Orange with  27 million subscribers.

Vivendi is now launching a formal study as its plans to split into two separate companies. A final decision is expected to be reached in early 2014.

“[SFR] would fully benefit from improved performance thanks to its wide ranging management transformation, as well as a revitalised business sector boosted by the explosion in usage of very high speed fixed and mobile Internet and connectivity,” Vivendi said in a statement.

The remaining part of Vivendi’s business would form a new international media group based in France, with strong positions in music worldwide, internet and associated services in Brazil, European cinema and pay on demand television in France, Africa, Poland and Vietnam.

The spin off could also make SFR an attractive acquisition prospect. In 2011 Vodafone commanded a surprisingly high price of €7.75bn when it offloaded its 44 per cent stake in the carrier to Vivendi. Perhaps there is now scope for Vodafone to revisit France.

 

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