Orange CEO Reignites Consolidation Talk

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Orange chief executive Stephane Richard will turn his attention once again to consolidating France’s mobile market after the incumbent has sold its stake in U.K. telco EE to BT.

France’s mobile operators have seen their margins squeezed ever since fourth player Free entered the market in 2012, sparking a fierce price war. Conglomerate Altice upped the pressure even further last year when it acquired SFR and merged it with cableco Numericable.

“There’s a natural pressure towards consolidation in the sector,” said Richard, at a press conference reported on by Reuters on Tuesday.

In May, Orange was reportedly in talks to acquire smaller rival Bouygues Telecom, but the parties were thought to be unable to reach an agreement on price.

In November, Xavier Niel, founder of Free parent Iliad, said that his company was not planning to make any acquisitions, and insisted that consolidation in France would be impossible without Iliad’s involvement.

However, it appears that consolidation could soon be back on the agenda at Orange. Original post at

Wahengbam Rorrkychand

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