Numericable to merge with SFR after striking €17 billion deal

07 April 2014 | Sophie Donoghue


European cable group Altice has won its battle with Bouygues Telecom to acquire France’s second-largest operator, SFR, for €17 billion.

Media group Vivendi, which owns SFR, has opted to strike the deal with Altice, which will now merge its own cable subsidiary Numericable with its newly acquired company.

Altice’s offer, which is the final purchase price, includes €13.5 billion in cash and a 20% stake in the merged SFR-Numericable company, equating to an offer of approximately €17 billion.

SFR parent company Vivendi will also receive $750 million if the new company meets profitability targets.

The news follows a month-long bidding war between the two companies.

Bouygues, France's third-biggest mobile operator, added an extra €1.85 billion to its offer on March 21 after its initial offer of approximately €14.5 billion was outbid by Numericable earlier last month.

Vivendi said it picked Numericable as it saw it as the better bid in terms of business logic, commitment to preserving jobs, chances of regulatory approval and long-term value, despite the fact that Bouygues' latest proposal included a higher cash offer.

Following Vivendi’s decision, Numericable announced that it is set to launch a rights issue worth up to $4.7 billion to help fund the acquisition of SFR.