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Vivendi aims to offload SFR

French media and telecom group Vivendi is in talks to merge its embattled mobile and internet unit SFR with cable operator Numericable, news media reported.

According to the Journal du Dimanche on Sunday, Vivendi and Numericable have been in talks for weeks on a deal that would give France a mobile and high-speed internet giant and greatly dilute Vivendi's stake in SFR.

Vivendi has been looking for months to reduce its exposure to the French mobile phone market, a once profitable business thrown in disarray by the arrival of low-cost operator Free in January.

The Journal du Dimanche reported that Vivendi was considering other ways to divest itself of SFR including a sale to former partner Vodafone and a full-blown share spin-off.

The reports sent shares in Vivendi rising sharply on Monday. In morning trading, Vivendi shares were showing a gain of 2.68 percent in a Paris market up 1.02 percent.

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BUSINESS

French court hands Amazon €90,000-per-day fine over contracts

French authorities on Wednesday slapped a €90,000-per-day fine on e-commerce giant Amazon until it removes abusive clauses in its contracts with businesses using its platform to sell their goods.

French court hands Amazon €90,000-per-day fine over contracts

The anti-fraud Direction générale de la concurrence, de la consommation et de la répression des fraudes (DGCCRF) service said the online sales giant’s contracts with third-party sellers who use its Amazon.fr website contain “unbalanced” clauses.

“The company Amazon Services Europe did not comply completely with an injunction it was served and it is now subject to a fine of €90,000 per day of delay” in applying the changes, the DGCCRF said in a statement.

It also urged the platform to conform with European rules on equity and transparency for firms using online platforms.

Amazon said the order would harm consumers.

“The changes imposed by the DGCCRF will stop us from effectively protecting consumers and permit bad actors to set excessive prices or spam our clients with commercial offers,” the e-commerce giant said in a statement.

“We will comply with the DGCCRF’s decision but we absolutely do not understand it and we are challenging it in court,” responded the e-commerce giant in a statement.

Amazon said the clauses that the DGCCRF has ordered removed had, for example “prevented the appearance of exorbitant prices for mask and hydroalcoholic gel during the pandemic”.

In 2019, Amazon was fined €4 million for “manifestly unbalanced” contract clauses with third-party sellers on its site in a case brought by the DGCCRF.

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