Vivendi head moots SFR IPO

Vivendi head moots SFR IPO

01 MAY 2013

France-based conglomerate Vivendi said that it may consider a listing of French telecoms arm SFR, as it looks to continue restructuring its assets in this sector following the planned sale of its stake in Maroc Telecom.

According to Reuters, Jean-Rene Fourtou, chairman of the group, said yesterday that while a review is underway, “we are not in a rush”. Among its priorities is to “put in place the best strategy for SFR”, the French integrated operator which has been on the receiving end of tough competition following the launch of low-cost operator Free.

While SFR is operating in a tough market, it is still an important asset for Vivendi as a whole. In the nine months to 30 September 2012, it accounted for €1.65 billion of the group’s €4.33 billion EBITDA (38 per cent of the total), and €8.51 billion of its €20.75 billion revenue (41 per cent).

Vivendi’s other main business activities include games company Activision Blizzard, broadcaster Canal+ and Universal Music Group.

According to the Financial Times, Jean-Francois Dubos, chief executive of Vivendi, said the company’s intention is to “reinforce [its] position as a leader in media and content while maximising the value of the telecoms activities”.

Reports earlier this year linked SFR with Free, the new entrant which has shaken up the French mobile market. However, the country’s authorities were said to be against this plan.

It was also linked with cable operator Numericable.

The executive also said that the sale of Maroc Telecom to one of the two bidders – Etisalat or Ooredoo – is expected to be completed before the Autumn. It was noted that this is being conducted in close cooperation with the Morrocan state authorities, which are also shareholders in the business.

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