Orange restarted consolidation talks with Bouygues as well as SFR and Iliad, its CEO Stephane Richard revealed to investors.
According to BFM Business, a spokesman said Richard “mentioned that initial contacts have resumed between the other operators, without Orange being a driving force behind these talks,” at an investors roadshow in London.
The report also quoted an unnamed operator as saying talks are “at a very early stage,” though “on a different pattern” than the ones that took place before.
Bouygues and SFR’s parent company Altice denied that talks have resumed, while Iliad declined to comment.
In April talks of a €10 billion merger between Bouygues and Orange in France ended, dealing a blow to operator consolidation hopes in the country.
Orange gave no indication as to why talks had failed after three months of haggling but Bouygues was more open, and also downbeat. In a statement at the time it said “the possibility of consolidation is now ruled out for the long term”.
And in June Orange Europe CEO Gervais Pellissier told Mobile World Live the company had ruled out any imminent repeat of attempts to acquire Bouygues in its domestic market, thanks to tighter regulation.
Today’s BFM report claimed that “a resumption of talks would be logical. All the reasons prompting to reduce the number of operators are still valid, such as heavy future investment in fiber, or the price war that weighs on margins of operators.”