Vivendi chairman: “there are way too many telecoms in Europe, consolidations inevitable”

17 Dec, 2012

Vivendi chairman of the board Jean-François Dubos said today in Les Echos that there are too many telecoms in Europe – more than 100, and that it is “inevitable” that that in the years to come there will be a consolidation in the telecom market.

Reasons Dubos sees for turbulence in the telecom market:

  • regulatory pressure on the rates
  • increase of taxes
  • an “uncontrolled increase” in the number of operators
  • increased pressure to invest in innovations like 4G

Especially in France, he says, the actions taken by government and regulatory authorities make a shake up in the telecom industry “inevitable”.

As you might recall, there are rumors that SFR is thinking of merging with Free, Xavier Niels low cost upstart telecom that is putting a lot of pressure on the incumbents. (France Telecom recently said that the arrival of Free pushed their revenue per customer down by twenty percent.)

Without explicitly talking about this scenario, Dubos said: “We will choose a solution which offers industrial synergies, creates maximum value and will be accepted by the authorities and the regulator.” Industrial synergy is precisely one of the reasons analysts see for a possible merger between Free and SFR.

In the interview, Dubos also makes it clear that he sees more future for Vivendi in content and media activities like gaming. Canal+ is still growing. Activision Blizzar is very profitable – “by far the most profitable gaming company in the industry. The latest installment of Call of Duty reached 1 billion dollars in only 15 days.”

And with the recent acquisition of EMI by Universal Music Group, Vivendi increased its presence in Germany and Japan, Dubos said.

Read more: Les Echos

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Raf Weverbergh

Editor of whiteboard. Raf Weverbergh was a magazine journalist whose work appeared in magazines like Rolling Stone, Playboy, Mail on Sunday, Publico and South China Morning Post. He is the co-founder of FINN, a corporate communications agency where he advises startups and multinationals on their PR and Mustr, the easiest media database for PR professionals. You can contact him on Twitter, Linkedin or Skype (rafweverbergh).

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