Altice dropped its offer to buy out minority shareholders in French operator SFR, after the move was surprisingly blocked by stock market regulator AMF.

In a statement, Altice said it regretted the decision, “which goes against the interests of both companies, their shareholders and employees”, adding its bid was now terminated.

The telecoms and media company announced the plan last month to buy 22.25 per cent of SFR shares it did not own, in a deal worth a reported €2.4 billion.

However, the French watchdog opposed the offer, saying the offer did not comply with rules. It did not give a further explanation for the decision.

Altice said it wanted to take full control of SFR to diversify into higher growth markets, particularly the US, as well as improve efficiency through the enlarged group, and increase its exposure in France.

Speaking to Reuters, Altice CEO Michel Combes described AMF’s decision as “totally incomprehensible”.

“At a time when many wonder, because of Brexit, to which big economic and financial centre they should move… this is sending a signal of complete unpredictability.”

The company added that its industrial strategy and its plans for growth in France, and abroad, remained unchanged.

Despite dropping the offer, the company said it reserved the right to file a court appeal against AMF’s decision, which it believes “was made in breach of applicable stock market regulations”.