Orange exits French telecoms merger talks

Orange exits French telecoms merger talks

France’s Orange has halted all plans to take part in a French telecoms market merger, the operator told reporters today.

In May, the French market leader was said to be considering a merger with rival player Bouygues Telecom and later in June, hired banks to advise on the deal.

Despite announcing earlier this year that there was an urgent need for consolidation in the French market, Orange released a statement today stating that all discussions were over.

“Orange has examined the possibilities of participating in an operation that would lead to consolidation in the French telecoms market, and believes that it cannot pursue this avenue at the present time as the conditions that the Group has set have not been met,” the statement read.

Sources told Reuters that Bouygues was seeking too high a price for the merger and although Orange had tried to bring Iliad into the talks to dispel potential anti-trust concerns, the parties could not agree on terms.

“The status quo is back for at least a couple of months,” said Raymond James, analyst at Stephane Beyazian.

Share prices have dropped across the board as a result of the news; at 0730 GMT, Bouygues Telecom shares were down 3.4% at €29.30, Iliad was down 4.7% at €213.6 and Orange was down 2.84% at €11.46.

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