20070509

Bouygues not for sale ? How about TF1 ?

France's new president makes no secret of his friendship with Martin Bouygues, Arnaud Lagardere, Serge Dassault or Vincent Bollore, major players in France's industrial and communications landscape.
As soon as Sarko got elected, L'Expansion revived rumors of a takeover of Areva and its nuclear gems by Bouygues, and the eventuality of the sale of Bouygues Telecom for EUR 8+ bns. Sarko loves Amerika but AT&T may have other fish to fry than a small spot in the middle of a saturated Europe. Deutsche Telecom just sold its ISP in France (Club Internet), but KPN (a fellow DoCoMo partner) confirmed its interest. And Telefonica has been expecting some reciprocity since Orange entered its home market. Even Vodafone could prefer 100% of France's #3 to 44% of #2 SFR....
Whatever. Bouygues doesn't seem as focused on communication as it used to. Lately, the group lost TPS to Canal+, the battle for TNT / DTV's best slots, part of its soccer rights to France Television, plus his Darth Vaderish leader Patrick Le Lay is about to be replaced by Nonce Paolini, a man who was deliberately sidelined during the elections nights, these key moments when medias meet with all politicians...

Beyond Bouygtel, the sale of TF1 would be a major hearthquake.
Vincent Bollore hates Bouygues and provided the private jet and yacht to Sarkozy for his Malta honeymoon with France. Silvio Berlusconi loves Nicolas Sarkozy and has unfinished business with France. He would be delighted to help Bouygues refocus on its core industrial activities. Bouygues Telecom could be sold once the question of the 4th 3G license is closed, opening a new era of partnerships at the wireless as well as the landline level (Free Iliad ?).



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