Xavier Niel, who is behind the surprise bid for American firm T-Mobile, has shaken up the traditional world of French business.
The French company - owner of mobile phone and internet network operator Free - says it has offered $15 billion for majority stake in US firm.
Head of French public-sector investment body says he would be prepared to back Bouygues in tussle for control of mobile phone firm SFR.
Some observers suggest that the return to just three main mobile phone operators will reduce competition and be bad news for French consumers.
Xavier Niel earned significant amounts of cash in his early business career through investing in sex shops. But the billionaire’s real money was made in the telecommunications industry through his development and ownership of internet service provider Free. Here, in the second part of Mediapart's investigation into the influential businessman, Laurent Mauduit examines the crucial day on which Niel consolidated his control over the company that was to make his name and his fortune.