French media group Vivendi is lining up a £6 billion (€6.9 billion) bid for Vodafone’s stake in SFR, far lower than the sum the UK-headquartered carrier is seeking.
Company sources claim Vivendi is keen to acquire Vodafone’s 44% stake in SFR, which would give the media giant full control of the French cellco, but state the firm won’t match the £8 billion price tag Vodafone is reportedly asking for the share.
Vivendi chief Jean-Bernard Lévy has previously said he won’t pay over-the-odds for Vodafone’s stake, and will walk away from the deal if the right price can’t be agreed.
Lévy reiterated that view in an interview with the Daily Telegraph over the weekend, stating that a deal is possible but that price is the deciding factor as it is in all Vivendi’s acquisitions. The comments prompted speculation that talks have already begun.
Last month SFR chief Frank Esser told journalists that negotiations between Vivendi and Vodafone were already underway but that no decisions had been reached on the price.
Vodafone assigned a £7 billion price tag to its SFR stake in December, however the Telegraph reports the carrier is now seeking close to £8 billion, and speculates the pair will likely meet each other half way.
The deal would advance Vodafone’s strategy of disposing of minority interests to focus on its core businesses, and add a more telecoms-focused flavor to Vivendi’s business.