Orange Looks for U.S Investors to Grow Dailymotion

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French IPTV provider Orange has taken full control of video sharing service Dailymotion, spending €61 million ($80.6 million U.S.) for the remaining 51 percent stake. However, it is looking for investors to share the burden of expanding the service internationally.

In 2011, Orange -- the core brand of France Telecom -- spent $78 million on a 49 percent share, vowing that it would become sole owner of the Paris-based site and indicating last year that the transaction would take place by January, 2013.

"Full acquisition by Dailymotion has long been expected, which will help it invest in growing its presence in key international markets," said David Sidebottom, senior market analyst at Futuresource Consulting. "Dailymotion is also investigating launching paid-for SVoD services in other countries, something Orange has considerable expertise in."

"Orange could use Dailymotion as a vehicle to both extend the Orange footprint and enhance its video services outside of France, likely with a focus on PC, in home and mobile devices," Sidebottom added.

Dailymotion registers 2.5 billion video monthly views and 106 million unique visitors according to its latest public numbers.

Orange issued a statement explaining that it is seeking outside, probably U.S., investors: "It is not our ambition or our role to remain a 100 percent stakeholder of Dailymotion and we are currently working to find the right partner/s. Obviously we cannot comment on this until a deal has been reached but it is clear that to accelerate the development of the company, Dailymotion needs to find a solid strategic partner, probably American, that is capable of opening the doors to the U.S. market.

"Beyond this, we are very happy with what has been achieved in the past few months (revenue growth of 55 percent in 2012). Our partnership with Dailymotion is an excellent illustration of the pertinence of our content strategy."

In related news, the French government has pledged €20 billion ($27 billion U.S.) of public and private funds to speed construction of the nation's fibre broadband networks, Reuters reported.

The investment, to be completed over the next decade, will be in tranches of more than €6 billion each. One will come from network operators, one from a mix of operators and local government, and the last from state and local-government money.

By 2017, the end of President Hollande's first term, 50 percent of the country will be covered.

Hollande's predecessor, Nicolas Sarkozy, announced a similar plan, worth €4.5 billion, as part of a post-crisis stimulus package. However, operators' reluctance to invest outside big cities meant that it never got off the ground.

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