Vodafone chief vows SFR takeover

24th February 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Feb 24 (AFP) - Shares in the French media and telecommunications group Vivendi Universal slumped Tuesday after initial gains sparked by a director of British mobile giant Vodafone, who had said it would one day own Vivendi's mobile operator SFR.

PARIS, Feb 24 (AFP) - Shares in the French media and telecommunications group Vivendi Universal slumped Tuesday after initial gains sparked by a director of British mobile giant Vodafone, who had said it would one day own Vivendi's mobile operator SFR.

Vodafone already owns 43.9 percent of the French mobile operator, with Vivendi controlling the rest.

The British operator failed last week with a bid for the US group AT and T Wireless, and analysts have forecast that Vodafone would focus on SFR.

And Vodafone managing director Arun Sarin confirmed such talk, telling reporters Tuesday in Cannes: "Over time, we will have SFR be part of the Vodafone world."

Sarin nonetheless hastened to add: "We have an excellent partnership with Vivendi," but France remains the only major European market in which Vodafone does not control a mobile operator.

Sarin, who was attending the 3GSM mobile telephone forum in the French Riviera town, added that there were still development opportunities in Europe, and particularly in eastern Europe.

In Paris, shares in Vivendi initially soared on Sarin's comments, but later fell back, showing a loss of 0.45 percent at EUR 22.28 in early afternoon trade.

The CAC 40 index of leading shares was down 1.23 percent overall.

© AFP

                                                              Subject: France news

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