Vivendi has entered into exclusive negotiations with Belgacom on the acquisition of 100 per cent of the Belgian incumbent's Telindus France unit, in a move that appears to contradict the French group's strategy to divest its telecoms assets in order to focus on its media business.
However, spokespeople for Vivendi and its French telecoms unit SFR confirmed by email that Vivendi is making the move in order to strengthen SFR's unified communications services for enterprise users ahead of the company's spinoff from Vivendi.
In a joint statement by SFR and Belgacom, the companies said SFR and Telindus France have concluded a "strong long-standing partnership" that in 2013 resulted in the joint development of a cloud-based unified communications offer.
"The acquisition would enable the marketing by the two companies of a range of services and offers for companies benefiting from complementary skills and their wide cooperation experience," the statement said.
Telindus France specialises in what it describes as the "digital transformation" of large companies, notably in the fields of energy, banking, industries and services. It provides services in the areas of security, unified communications, collaborative solutions, data centre infrastructure and corporate networks. The company reported revenue of €241 million ($330 million) in 2013, and claims to be "the leading French distributor of Cisco equipment".
For its part, Vivendi has been seeking options for SFR for some time as part of its strategy to rid itself of its troublesome telecoms assets and focus on its media business. In November Vivendi's supervisory board agreed unanimously to the plan to demerge SFR from the group, although it has been recognised that further efforts are required to strengthen SFR's business following a ruinous price war in France.
It has also been reported that French cable provider Numericable, which is 40 per cent-owned by Altice, is interested in buying SFR.
As well as France, Belgacom operates ICT businesses under the Telindus name in Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.
- see this SFR statement
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