French cable company Numericable is preparing a €11 billion offer for SFR, the second-largest mobile operator in France, according to Bloomberg.
The news comes after SFR CEO Jean-Yves Charlier said in February that splitting SFR off from media group Vivendi, which controls the operator, was the only plan.
However, Bloomberg sources said Numericable, and shareholder Altice, are preparing to make an offer with billionaire Patrick Drahi, who controls both companies, having guarantees for €8 billion of debt with the remaining cash to be raised through capital increases.
The source added that Drahi plans for Numericable to make up one-third of the merged business, although a formal bid has not yet been made.
Vivendi is looking to spin-off SFR as it looks to focus on its media assets and has been in discussions with Numericable about a potential deal for the past year with a price appearing to be the sticking point.
Sources said last week that fellow French mobile operators Bouygues and Iliad are discussing potential offers for SFR.
This is despite Charlier saying Vivendi is “well advanced” with spin-off plans for SFR, suggesting potential for a trade sale has diminished. The SFR CEO said the aim is for a listing of SFR in early July.
The comments from Charlier came after it was reported in late January that Vivendi was continuing to mull a sale of SFR to Numericable.