Orange EVP hints at strategic deals in Europe

EVP and CEO of Orange in Europe (outside France), Mari-Noëlle Jégo Laveissière, talks to TelecomTV at MWC24 in Barcelona.

EVP and CEO of Orange in Europe (outside France), Mari-Noëlle Jégo Laveissière, talks to TelecomTV at MWC24 in Barcelona.

  • Orange is looking for new M&A moves in Europe, with a focus on access infrastructure and B2B applications
  • It could acquire small fibre access networks in Poland, according to CEO of Orange in Europe (outside France)
  • As one the main voices calling for telco rules in the region to be eased, Orange insists European operators should be given the chance to scale more

Orange is looking for deals and opportunities related to infrastructure and the delivery of enterprise/business-to-business (B2B) services in some European countries, and pragmatism will be central to any such moves, EVP and CEO of Orange in Europe (outside France), Mari-Noëlle Jégo Laveissière, told TelecomTV in a recent interview.

A year after discussing Orange’s strategic goals for Europe, we caught up with Jégo Laveissière once again to determine the operator’s progress on its ‘Lead the Future’ strategy, along with its main priorities and opportunities in Europe.

Noting that the strategy is progressing as planned, the executive maintained that convergence still plays a key role across all geographies, with acquisitions in Belgium and Romania, and the imminent merger with MásMóvil in Spain having helped the company boost its play in the bundled mobile and fixed connectivity services segment.

Asked about plans for any other big M&A moves, she noted that “this is not in the pipe”, adding that “we may have opportunities, but we need to be very pragmatic”.

“What we’re looking for in some countries is deals about infrastructures – like in Poland, there are many, many, many very small fibre networks, so it can make sense for us to buy some of them. We can also deep dive for opportunities in the B2B [sector], as we did also in Poland a couple of years ago,” Jégo Laveissière noted.

She emphasised that the group is “really pragmatic” and focused on deals that can create values in different areas of the business.

With Orange among the major European players urging for more relaxed regulation when it comes to consolidation in Europe, the telco executive believes that the new draft paper from the European Commission is a step “in the right direction” but that there is still a huge amount of investment needed in Europe (a point which was recently made by Vodafone as well) and that it is important for telcos to play by the same rules as others.

“When it comes to consolidation, I think that we need to scale in Europe definitively. We need to be more attractive for investors… I think that it’s very important for all of us to scale and [for there] to be maybe [fewer] operators with larger scale in order to afford all the investments for the new technologies,” Jégo Laveissière said.

Some of the new technologies in question, such as AI, require new skills, create new opportunities and pose various challenges. To find out how generative AI (GenAI) developments will impact Orange’s business going forward, watch the full interview – MWC24: Orange’s Mari-Noëlle Jégo Laveissière on M&A deals and AI in Europe.

- Yanitsa Boyadzhieva, Deputy Editor, TelecomTV

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