(Bloomberg) -- Orange agreed to sell a 50% stake in Orange Concessions to a group of French investors in a deal valuing the fiber-optic network operator at 2.7 billion euros ($3.3 billion.)

The buyers include Caisse des Dépôts, CNP Assurances and EDF Invest and the transaction is expected to close by the end of the year, according to a statement. Orange will hold a call option that will allow it to regain control and consolidate Orange Concessions in the future.

“Through this partnership, Orange holds the means to pursue the development of fiber in rural areas, by winning new public initiative networks or by participating in market consolidation,” Stéphane Richard, chief executive officer of Orange, said in the statement. “This is a key milestone in the delivery of our Engage 2025 strategic plan.”

Orange is one of the world’s leading telecommunications businesses. It has 143,000 employees globally, with 83,000 in France. It had 257 million customers as of Sept. 30, including 212 million mobile customers and 21 million fixed broadband customers.

The deal is the latest in a series by French mobile operators for fiber technology as the government encourages its rollout to greater swathes of the population.

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