Keen to reposition itself as a media conglomerate, Vivendi is considering merging SFR with private equity-owned Numericable and its B2B sister Completel, while reducing its stake in the new entity to below 50%.
Sizeable savings would come from migrating SFR’s fixed line subscribers in urban areas from Orange’s copper network to Numericable’s coax and FTTB, and from eliminating Completel’s LLU network and Numericable’s marketing spend.
In the short term, execution would be challenging and require sizeable capex. In the longer run, coax is a much cheaper alternative to investing in FTTH. The merger would put pressure on the other two altnets, Iliad and Bouygues, to consider consolidation scenarios.