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French gov cries 'Non!' to $300m video slurp

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Yahoo! has had to give up its attempt to take a controlling stake in French video startup Dailymotion after the government intervened, according to media reports.

The Purple Palace was forced to abandon its pursuit of a 75 per cent stake in the online video site when French industry minister Arnaud Montebourg, part of the ruling socialist government, told the company that he didn't want an American web firm in charge of a French internet success story, familiar people told the Wall Street Journal.

"I won't let you sell one of France's best startups," Montebourg reportedly told Dailymotion owner France Telecom at a meeting. "You don't know what you're doing."

French newspaper Le Monde had earlier reported that the talks had collapsed.

Yahoo! has apparently decided not to go on pushing after Montebourg said it couldn't take a majority stake - and therefore control - of the firm, although France Telecom is still up for the deal.

Montebourg said in a statement that he wanted "to attract more foreign investment in France, in particular from American companies" and he was sorry that the talks between Yahoo! and France Telecom "did not lead to a satisfactory agreement".

Yahoo! and Dailymotion had already signed a nonbinding deal for the stake that valued the firm at $300m, in what would have been the largest acquisition of chief Marissa Mayer's tenure so far.

The deal would have given Yahoo! a home in web video outside the US while helping Dailymotion to compete with the likes of Google's YouTube. ®

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