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French Phone Carriers Cool on Mergers as Market Rebounds

  • Focus shifting from savings drive to new services, expansion
  • Government also not in favor of combinations near term

Major French phone carriers are setting aside any merger scenarios for the next couple of years as the market recovers, making the drive to seek savings through combinations less necessary, according to people familiar with the matter.

The government, a major shareholder in largest carrier Orange, also doesn’t favor consolidation in the near term, said the people, asking not to be named as the views aren’t public. Since the latest failed major merger attempt in 2016, the French wireless market has begun to show signs of recovery, and the government considers the industry competitive and combinations as not beneficial for consumers, the people said.