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Orange Is Looking For Deals Outside of Telecom, Including Ista

  • French operator decided against bid for German meter company
  • Price pressure in France has hurt Orange’s sales growth

Orange SA is looking for European acquisitions outside of telecommunications that could cost as much as several billion euros, and recently considered buying German metering company Ista International GmbH, according to people close to the matter.

The French company held talks with Ista’s majority owner, private equity firm CVC Capital, about the business, which could fetch as much as 5 billion euros ($5.7 billion) including debt, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the process is confidential. While Orange decided in recent days against making an offer, the people said, the deliberations illustrate the phone company’s appetite to expand in business services and web-connected devices.

Ista’s electricity- and water-metering business would have complemented Orange’s “smart...