Altice in talks to sell mobile business in La Reunion and Mayotte

Altice said it has entered into exclusive talks with the Hiridjee Group on the sale of its mobile activities in the French Overseas Territories (FOT) of La Reunion and Mayotte.

The company said the sale is being carried out "pursuant to the requirement and subject to the approval of the French antitrust authority."

Altice, which has recently been more known for buying than selling mobile businesses, was required to sell the mobile activities of Outremer Telecom--which runs the group's operations in five French Overseas Territories--as part of the concessions demanded by France's competition authority for the approval of Altice's acquisition of SFR.

Hiridjee Group is the controlling shareholder of Telma, a telecoms operator in Madagascar. No details on the pricing or timeline for the deal were provided.

As well as La Reunion and Mayotte in the Indian Ocean area, Altice also provides various services including pay TV, fixed broadband access and fixed telephony under Outremer Telecom in the French West Indies--in Martinique, Guadeloupe and French Guiana.

The company said it had 371,000 mobile subscribers in the FOT unit at the end of 2014. Mobile revenue in the region increased by 1.4 per cent year-on-year to €139.2 million ($152.7 million) as customers continue to shift from lower ARPU prepaid to postpaid tariffs. EBITDA in FOT was €105.9 million, up 25 per cent on 2013.

The acquisition of SFR from French media group Vivendi was completed in 2014, and forms part of plans to create a new fixed and mobile giant by merging the mobile operator with cable provider Numericable. Altice also recently offered to buy Vivendi's 20 per cent stake in Numericable-SFR at a price of €40 per share, representing a total amount of about €3.9 billion. Vivendi accepted the offer following its supervisory board meeting on Feb. 27, and final agreements have now been signed. The final hurdle will be a vote by Numericable-SFR shareholders on Apr. 30.

Altice is already rumoured to be pursuing another acquisition in France: reports have suggested that the company is stepping up plans to make a bid for Bouygues Telecom, although nothing has been confirmed.

Over in Portugal, shareholders in Portugal Telecom SGPS (PT SGPS) in January approved the €7.4 billion sale of Oi's Portuguese telecoms assets to Altice, ending uncertainty over a deal first announced in December.

For more:
- see this Altice release

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