There's been a new twist in the battle for France's second largest telco SFR, with would-be owner Bouygues upping its offer by €1bn.
Last week it emerged that both Bouygues and Altice had bid for SFR, hoping to merge it with their own comms businesses: mobile operator Bouygues Telecom in the case of the former, and cable company Numericable in the case of the latter.
Numericable's offer reportedly included €11bn in cash and a 32 percent share in the newly-merged company. Bouygues initially offered €10.5bn in cash in return for 46 percent of the new company. Today, it announced it was raising that figure to €11.3bn in cash and a 52 percent share of the new mobile entity.
If Bouygues wins, "an IPO of the new entity is planned as soon as the merger is completed, offering Vivendi an immediate opportunity to monetise its interest," Bouygues said. Vivendi, which owns SFR, has been paving the way for the sale of the telco for some time, in order to focus on its media business.
Bouygues has also sweetened its bid of late by signing a deal with Free, the country's fourth placed mobile operator. In the event Bouygues is successful in its bid for SFR, it will sell off parts of its network infrastructure and spectrum to Free for €1.8bn.