Rumour Mill: After SFR, Altice is targeting BASE or Mobistar in Belgium

Only weeks after reaching an agreement to buy France's SFR from Vivendi, Altice is now reportedly eyeing up a number of potential acquisitions in Belgium, including two of the market's mobile operators.

According to a report in Belgian newspaper L'Echo, the "insatiable" Altice--which is already present in Belgium under the Numericable brand--has previously expressed interest in cable operators Brutélé-Tecteo (Voo) and is now also eyeing KPN's BASE Belgium, and Orange-owned Mobistar.

Altice did not respond to requests for comments before publication.

Citing unnamed sources, L'Echo said at least four company dossiers are now on the desk of Altice founder and owner Patrick Drahi, who shot to fame in France over the battle for SFR that put him on a head-on collision course with Martin Bouygues, CEO of the Bouygues Group that operates Bouygues Telecom.

Altice is no stranger to mergers and acquisitions, having built up its group through buying cable and mobile operators in markets across Europe and the Caribbean. The acquisition of SFR for a total value of €17 billion ($23 billion) marks one of its biggest ventures to date, and indicates that the company is not afraid to move in when it sees a good opportunity.

The group's strategy is to buy assets where it has an existing cable or mobile presence in order to offer fixed and mobile service bundles, so a Belgian mobile acquisition would make sense. Altice already operates the Belgian MVNO Coditel on the Mobistar network.

As things stand, Brutélé-Tecteo looks to be the initial target. It's considered likely that both KPN and Orange could be open to selling their respective Belgian units further down the line.

Aside from French cable operator Numericable, which is to be merged with SFR once the deal goes through, Altice also operates a number of other units under Altice VII holding. Altice VII groups together the company's fixed and mobile activities in Belgium, Luxembourg, Portugal, Israel, French Overseas Territories and the Dominican Republic, while also offering B2B services in Switzerland.

For more:
- see this L'Echo article (in French)

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