"SFR is a sensitive and strategic company for France," Pellerin said, according to Reuters.
"We will do everything in our power to make sure this company does not end up in the hands of unscrupulous shareholders," he said.
Some might find the language a bit odd, but the transaction would not reduce the number of major players in the French market, for example. That might normally be expected to be an issue, if the proposed transaction reduced the number of leading mobile providers to three, for example. But that isn't the case.
Nor would it seem to be a problem if a leading cable company and mobile company were to combine. Many would call that a reasonable move in a highly-competitive market where the ability to sell multiple products to the same customer is an advantage.
Separately, the Financial Times says Vivendi also is in talks about a possible sale of GVT, its Brazilian fixed-line telephone company, and its stake in Maroc Telecom, Morocco’s biggest telecoms operator.
Vivendi’s directors have said asset sale proceeds would be used to pay down €14bn of net debt.