Stéphane Richard returned to the collapse of negotiations between Orange and Bouygues Telecom. The CEO of Orange says that if there were errors, they are shared between different actors. But for him, the fact that the French market is still divided between four operators should not prevent prices to go up.
After failed negotiations for the purchase of Bouygues Telecom Orange comes findings. Stéphane Richard, one of the main victims of this failure with Martin Bouygues, there is no one responsible. “There is probably rather a plurality of causes. Some have underestimated difficulties of transformation, each shot a little too much rope. The state may have thought Bouygues traded back to the wall. Each has its share of responsibility, “he said during a long interview with Challenges.
Martin Bouygues’ may have underestimated the complexity of the subject ”
The CEO of Orange also shows particularly friendly with other CEOs of operators, calling here Patrick Dahi (SFR) “real entrepreneur […] focused on economic parameters that risk,” explaining where Xavier Niel (Free) “is some risk aversion,” but he was “a loyal partner” and is finally showing more severe with Martin Bouygues, stating that “he may have underestimated the complexity of the subject” despite his “constancy and faithfulness.” Listening to Stéphane Richard, in the world of big bosses telecom, everyone is kind and benevolent.
The government has defended its interests too?
Reading between the lines, however we understand that for Stéphane Richard, it is mainly the state that is responsible for the failure of these negotiations. Commenting on the fact that the State did not want to give too much of Orange shares to Martin Bouygues if successful redemption, Stéphane Richard said: “The State believes defending its property interests. I’m not judging. ” He adds, a little bitter, “The only question to ask is why the state he wants to remain a shareholder of Orange? Is it to receive a dividend, to support its development in Africa, to maintain the lowest possible price? One sometimes has the impression of being in the heart of contradictory injunctions: it must create value, consumer protection, employment, and accelerate investment, without always look their profitability! ”
“Prices will go up”
For him, the state does not want to return to the three operators because he wanted low prices for consumers, protect potential layoffs and not seeing Martin Bouygues in the shareholding of Orange. Whatever, finally the French market still has four operators, Stéphane Richard, there is no doubt that prices will go up, “I make you a bet, however, that prices will rise. There will be agitation, but no price war. The promotions will stop […] the different actors will simply no longer afford to burn the fuel in the incinerator of the price war. ” An opinion that is shared by the head of ARCEP.