The Bouygues group's decision to scale back its plans for the telecommunications industry was greeted by a 44% rise in the value of its shares on the French stock exchange, while analysts perceived this move as for the benefit of new shareholder Vincent Bollore. Unveiling the group's accounts in early April, Martin Bouygues announced that the company would refocus on fixed telephony for the general public, leaving its partner Telecom Italia to dominate the business market. This change of course will allow Bouygues to limit direct investment in fixed telephony to 200 million Francs per year during the next two years.Telecom Italia claimed to be surprised by this shift in strategy, commenting in a press release that no prior agreement had been reached on Bouygues's announcement. The Bouygues group claimed that it had kept Telecom Italia informed and attributed the Italian company's astonishment to successive changes in management within the company. According to sources close to the affair, the Italians' reaction proves that Bouygues took its decision hastily and under pressure from Mr Bollore after he refused to validate the group's annual accounts. Since he obtained a 10% interest in Bouygues, many rumours have been circulating (and have never been denied) concerning Mr Bollore's doubts as to Bouygues's...

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