Patrick Drahi’s Altice is offering to buy Bouygues Telecom for just over EUR 10 billion in cash.

The two companies have confirmed reports in the Journal du Dimanche that Numericable-SFR parent company Altice has made an offer to acquire Bouygues Telecom. Bouygues confirmed that it received an unsolicited offer from Altice to start negotiations with a view to buying Bouygues Telecom.

According to the report, talks might have been going on for some time with Bouygues looking to receive up to EUR11 billion for the telecoms operation.

The acquisition would create the country’s largest mobile operator, surpassing Orange. It would also bring down the number of mobile telecom operators from four to three.

However, the French government might not be keen on the takeover. Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron said on Sunday, that “the time isn’t right.”

“Consolidation isn’t advisable for the sector,” he said in a statement. “Employment, investment and giving customers the best possible service should be the priority.”