Bouygues-Orange deal 'on track'

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By Euronews  with Reuters, Les Echos
Bouygues-Orange deal 'on track'

<p>France biggest telecoms operator, Orange, is reportedly inching towards an agreement to buy Bouygues Telecom from its construction group parent company.</p> <p>The French daily Les Echos reports complex discussions are making good progress. </p> <p>The deal would cut the number of main telecoms operators in France from four to three. </p> <p>And the complication is that to get <a href="http://www.euronews.com/2015/12/17/france-s-competition-watchdog-slaps-biggest-ever-fine-on-orange/">approval from competition regulators</a> some assets would have to be sold to the other big two players in France, <a href="http://www.euronews.com/2016/02/15/on-the-line-orange-and-bouygues-telecoms-tie-up-reportedly-very-close/">Iliad – which runs Free – and Numericable-<span class="caps">SFR</span></a>.</p> <p>“On these issues, talks have advanced and a deal is almost done with Patrick Drahi’s <span class="caps">SFR</span> and Xavier Niel’s Free,” Les Echos said, citing a source close to the matter.</p> <p>Iliad would take on fewer assets than had been initially expected and possibly no mobile clients, the paper added.</p> <p>Last week, in an interview with Reuters, Iliad’s Chief Financial Officer Thomas Reynaud said: “The talks are going on. They are complex on operational and industrial aspects.” </p> <p>Iliad, Orange, Bouygues and Numericable-<span class="caps">SFR</span> declined comment on the report in Les Echos.</p> <p>There is a self imposed deadline to reach agreement by the end of March.</p> <p>Les Echos further reported that 95 percent of Bouygues Telecom workers have told their unions they want to end up working for Orange rather than Iliad’s Free or <a href="http://www.euronews.com/2014/04/07/vivendi-sells-sfr-to-numericable/">Numericable-<span class="caps">SFR</span></a>.</p> <p>A trade union delegation went to the French Finance Ministry on Monday (14 March) to deliver that message. </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="fr" dir="ltr">Mariage Orange / Bouygues Telecom : les salariés haussent le ton <a href="https://t.co/FN5ScKZJ7v">https://t.co/FN5ScKZJ7v</a> <a href="https://t.co/Obp1aj0f5c">pic.twitter.com/Obp1aj0f5c</a></p>— Les Echos (@LesEchos) <a href="https://twitter.com/LesEchos/status/709357436654776320">March 14, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>