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Numericable wins conditional approval for SFR deal

Staff writer |
French cable telecoms operator Numericable won conditional approval for its multi-billion-euro takeover of Vivendi's SFR mobile network operator, paving the way for it to close the deal by the end of the year.

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France's competition authority said Numericable would have to divest certain assets and make its cable network available to its competitors temporarily to give them time to develop their own high-speed broadband networks.

Among the assets it must sell are mobile activities in the overseas territories of La Reunion and Mayotte. The company must also refrain from sharing with Vivendi any crucial market information where the two are competitors. The conditions were described by the authority's chief Bruno Lasserre as "credible demanding and ambitious".

Numericable said they were no threat to the project. It also said that SFR would have a high-speed broadband offer specially for Christmas that would be available on Numericable's cable network.

Numericable's purchase of SFR would create the second-biggest player behind Orange and ahead of Bouygues in a reshaped French telecoms market.

Vivendi picked Numericable as the buyer for SFR in April, handing billionaire Patrick Drahi's cable company victory in a month-long bidding battle. Bouygues was the other leading bidder.

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