On the occasion of her first speech since her appointment, Christel Heydemann, CEO of Orange, follows in the footsteps of her predecessor and rules out any option of consolidation of the French market or acquisition-merger within Europe. . The idea is not ruled out in the near future but is not a priority. A position totally opposite to that of Patrick Drahi, CEO of Altice.
Since April, Orange has had a new director. Christel Heydemann has indeed taken the helm of the incumbent operator, replacing Stéphane Richard. The latter resigned after being convicted in the Tapie case. Several questions arose on the occasion of this replacement. One of them concerns Orange’s expansion strategy: will the new boss encourage the consolidation of the French telecoms market or acquire an operator in Europe?
The new boss of Orange does not want to return to three operators
Christel Heydemann says no. On the occasion of the presentation of Orange’s results, it rules out any consolidation scenario or external growth in the near future. A strategy in line with that of its predecessor, which had ruled out any takeover at least until 2025. Even if a strategic plan has been defined, Christel Heydemann even believes that “ consolidation is not essential to the French market. If there are opportunities, we will look, but this cannot be the core of Orange’s strategy “. A way of asserting its preference for a four-player market, while not closing the door to a timely alliance.
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This question of the consolidation of the French telecoms market has been coming back for several months. It was Patrick Drahi, CEO of Altice, the parent company of SFR, who raised the subject last February. The latter believes that an alliance is inevitable to prevent the acquisition of a French operator by an American player. He says the market isn’t as prolific as it was in the early 2010s, when Free Mobile got its operating license. Thus, the turnover of French players is not large enough in relation to the profits made by the giants across the Atlantic.
In recent years, several attempts at consolidation have taken place in France. But they all failed. We are obviously thinking of the attempted takeover of Bouygues Telecom by Orange, but also of the negotiations that took place between Bouygues Telecom and SFR. Only one merger has taken place in recent years in France: that of Bouygues Telecom and EI Telecom, manager of five MVNOs (NRJ Mobile, CIC Mobile, Cdiscount Mobile, etc.).