Bouygues ‘may take 15% of Orange’ says French report

The Bouygues construction and real estate group is set to take a 15% stake in Orange as part of a deal to merge Bouygues Telecom with the French incumbent operator.

Reports in France’s Journal de Dimanche say that as part of the deal a third operator, Free, would also take over part of the Bouygues Telecom business, including retail stores and network assets. At the same time the French state’s stake in Orange would drop from 23% to 20%.

Bouygues Telecom is owned by the family-owned Bouygues construction group, with 128,000 employees and capitalised at around €11 billion. As well as construction and real estate, it owns the TF1 television channel. The telecoms division has no operations outside France.

According to the same report Orange has hired Messier Maris as strategy adviser. This is a partnership of Jean-Marie Messier, former CEO of Vivendi, and Erik Maris, former general partner of Lazard Frères in France. Vivendi sold its SFR mobile network to Altice’s Numericable in 2014.

Le Journal de Dimanche says that Bouygues is being advised by Rothschild and HSBC.

Bouygues said in response to earlier reports that “it has no plans to withdraw from the telecoms and television sectors and reaffirms its long-term presence in these two industries”. However, a 15% stake in Orange may satisfy that statement.

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