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Clock ticking, Bouygues again raises bid for French mobile operator SFR to $20.6 billion

With the clock ticking, French conglomerate Bouygues is again raising its offer in the bidding war for France's number-two mobile phone operator SFR.

Bouygues raised its offer by 1.85 billion euros to 15 billion euros ($20.6 billion) ahead of a potential decision Friday from parent company Vivendi on the offer from rival bidder Altice. The latest Bouygues offer — its second increase — would give Vivendi 10 percent equity in the merged entity. A Bouygues-SFR tie-up would reduce to three the number of players in the French market.

Altice has been in exclusive negotiations with Vivendi, which is offloading SFR to focus on its other businesses, Universal Music Group and Canal+ pay television.

The sale of SFR has drawn interest across the European mobile industry, which is trying to consolidate.