Dailymotion Microsoft

Will Microsoft succeed with the French after Yahoo hit an impasse?

Microsoft is in discussions about a partnership with Dailymotion, the Internet-video site owned by French telco Orange, according to Orange CEO Stephane Richard. Under the proposed pact, Microsoft could acquire a minority stake in Dailymotion.

In the spring of 2013, Yahoo made a bid to acquire a majority stake in Dailymotion — a rival to Google’s YouTube — for $200 million. However, French officials nixed that deal because they didn’t want a U.S.-based company controlling Dailymotion.

Now, Orange is approaching partners outside of Europe to develop Dailymotion abroad, Richard said in an interview Monday with French TV channel BFM Business at the World Mobile Congress in Barcelona. The exec emphasized that Orange intends to retain a majority ownership stake in Dailymotion.

“We have (had) ongoing discussions, particularly with Microsoft, which does not necessarily mean that we will come to a deal,” Richard said, according to a translation of his comments.

The French government owns about 27% of Orange (formerly France Telecom). The telco acquired a 49% stake in Dailymotion in 2011 before buying the remaining share it did not own in January 2013. 

Microsoft and Dailymotion reps declined to comment.

According to Dailymotion, the company’s sites attract more than 112 million unique monthly visitors — compared with more than 1 billion for YouTube. Dailymotion hosts 35 localized websites in 18 different languages.

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