Iliad makes of move on Alice, with TI's blessing

French broadband service provider Iliad is engaging in exclusive negotiations to acquire Telecom Italia's French network business, Liberty Surf Group SAS, aslo known as Alice France, for about $1.3 billion. Telecom Italia's is in the midst of a restructuring and recovery process, so the negtiations do not come as much of a surprise, though TI reportedly had been looking to sell for a while and had drawn interest from a number of parties.

The acquisition would give Iliad, which operates the Freebox TV service in the tightly-competitive French market, a larger base of new potential TV customers. Iliad currently is considered the third-ranked broadband service provider in France behind France Telecom and Neuf Cegetel.

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