French minister: Vivendi favors Numericable offer for SFR unit

French Industry minister Arnaud Montebourg believes that Vivendi (VIVHY, VIVEF) prefers Numericable's bid for its SFR mobile unit over an offer from conglomerate Bouygues (BOUYY).

However, there are concerns about a potential Numericable victory, Montebourg says, including the small size of the company relative to SFR, its debt, and its offshore ownership structure. Numericable's ulitmate owner, billionaire Patrick Drahi, controls the company via Luxembourg-based Altice.

Montebourg prefers the Bouygues offer, as the company has pledged not to cut jobs.

Vivendi's board was due to meet today to discuss the rival offers, which both value SFR at over $20B.


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