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SFR bid for Bouygues sets alarm bells ringing in French telecoms

SFR bid for Bouygues sets alarm bells ringing in French telecoms
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Top French telecoms player SFR has launched a bid for rival Bouygues Telecom.

The deal, if it goes ahead, could have huge implications for the industry and its customers.

European telecommunications company Altice) made the offer through its subsidiary Numericable-SFR.

Altice, owned by French-Israeli Patrick Drahi, has reportedly offered Bouygues shareholders a massive €10bn to buy them out.

If the deal goes ahead SFR Bouygues will claim the lion’s share of the market with 34 million clients.

Orange and Free make up the rest.

The pressure will be on current market-leader Orange and on prices.

Antoine Autier, is a French consumer journalist: “With only three operators there is less market competition than with four operators. There is less incentive to engage in a genuine price competition. If the deal goes ahead the risk is an overall rise in prices.”

Bouygues confirmed it had received an “unsolicited” offer and would hold meetings the discuss the pros and cons.

Workers at the company are concerned about the implications: “We are being bought out by a competitor there will be a doubling of some jobs. That means, inevitably that there will be job losses.”

“Are you worried about your job?”

“Yes,” said one employee.

The French government is to have a close look at the offer amid concerns the merger will reduce competition in the sector, where the healthy rivalry has defended jobs and protected customers from price hikes.