Orange nearing deal to exit Dominical Republic unit - sources

November 24
6:39 PM 2013

Sources told Bloomberg that France-based phone firm Orange SA is close to reaching a deal to sell its business in the Dominican Republic to Altice. Orange is the largest phone company in France while Altice is a Luxembourg-based cable and telecommunications investment firm founded by Patrick Drahi. The three people close to the situation said an announcement of the agreement may be made later this week. On November 22, Orange Chief Executive Officer Stephane Richard did not give the name of the buyer but said it is close to divesting the unit for a price tag of over EUR 1 billion or USD 1.35 billion.

According to a Bloomberg report, multiple offers were given for the Dominican Republic unit. Just last month, Altice said it would buy Global Interlink Ltd and Tricom in order to grow its telephone, television and Internet services as well as its wireless unit in the Caribbean. However, the sources said the details of the deal with Orange are still under negotiation and no final agreement has been reached.

Telecommunications firms in Europe are selling their peripheral assets in a bid to expand their investments in high-speed mobile networks and pay debt, the report added. One example was the move of Deutsche Telekom to divest the 70% stake it holds in the digital classifieds business Scout24 Holding.

Information gathered from its website revealed that Altice is the owner and operator of firms focused in the cable, Internet, mobile and data center space. Its operations cover countries like Belgium, Israel, Indian Ocean, Switzerland and Portugal. Altice is the largest investor in Numericable, the biggest cable operator in France. Earlier this month, Numericable went public.

Orange has experienced a decline in sales and earnings as tough competition with rivals like Iliad SA have caused a dip in prices even as it tries to control debt, the Bloomberg report added.

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