PARIS – French conglomerate Bouygues is raising the stakes in a bidding war to take control of France’s number-two mobile phone operator SFR.
In a statement Thursday Bouygues says it’s ready to pay 11.3 billion euros ($15.8 billion) to take control of SFR from parent company Vivendi, which wants to separate from telecoms to focus on its other holdings, Canal+ pay television and the Universal Music Group.
Last week, Bouygues and rival bidder Altice, owner of French cable operator Numericable, made competing offers for SFR. Bouygues’ new bid tops the 10.9 billion euro cash offer made by Altice, and represents a significant bump up from Bouygues’ own prior 10.5 billion euro offer.
A Bouygues-SFR tie-up would reduce to three the number of players in the French market, alongside Orange and Free.