Report: Vivendi eyes spinoff of SFR

Vivendi is considering splitting off its French mobile network subsidiary, SFR, into a separate company, according to a Bloomberg report. The SFR discussions follow failed attempts to get acceptable bids for Vivendi's other properties, Activision Blizzard and Brazilian broadband company GVT.

A final decision has not been made and Vivendi may still settle on an alternative strategy, Bloomberg said. A spokesman for Vivendi declined to comment.

Under consideration, according to the report, is a proposal for SFR to ultimately retain most of Vivendi's debt, which was at €13.4 billion at the end of last year.  A separation of the phone and media businesses could take three to five years to complete and would probably happen after a sale of Vivendi's 53 per cent stake in Maroc Telecom, the report said.

SFR made up almost 40 percent of Vivendi's 2012 revenue.

Earlier this year a possible merger of SFR and Iliad's Free Mobile was reportedly been quashed by the French competition authority, claiming that the market share of the combined company would be too large. Vivendi and Iliad approached the competition authorities with a merger proposal, according to the French radio station BFM, which cited unidentified sources in the industry.

According to French telecoms regulator Arcep, France's four biggest telecom operators--France Telecom Orange, SFR, Bouygues Telecom and Free Mobile--saw their combined revenues rise by 0.1 per cent to €41.4 billion in 2012, excluding the effect of a reduction in call termination rates. SFR's overall revenue fell by 7.3 per cent, to €11.29 billion.

For more:
- see this Bloomberg article
- see this Telecom Paper article (sub. req.)

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