Etisalat, Vivendi extend Maroc Telecom deadline - Mobile World Live

Etisalat, Vivendi extend Maroc Telecom deadline

30 SEP 2013

Talks for Etisalat to acquire a 53 per cent stake in Maroc Telecom from French media group Vivendi are continuing, with the validity period for the binding offer and period of exclusivity granted to Etisalat extended to 31 October.

It was confirmed in July that Vivendi was in exclusive talks with UAE-based Etisalat regarding the sale of the stake in Morocco’s largest operator for €4.2 billion.

But an Etisalat statement to the Abu Dhabi stock exchange over the weekend said the talks had been extended beyond the original deadline of 25 September. No reason was given.

With the Moroccan government holding a 30 per cent stake in Maroc Telecom, it must approve the deal for it to go ahead.

Although it is believed the state is not against the deal in principle, Etisalat said the final agreement is subject to “execution of a shareholders’ agreement with the Kingdom of Morocco” and “securing competition and regulatory approvals”.

Back in July, Vivendi said a final agreement was subject to consultation with the French Works Councils and negotiating approvals between Etisalat and the Moroccan government. It has also been suggested that the Moroccan authorities want Etisalat to work with a local partner as part of its approval conditions for the deal.

Both Qatari operator group Ooredoo and South Korea’s KT had previously expressed an interest in Maroc Telecom but withdrew their interests due to concerns about the length of the process and the valuation of the stake respectively.

Vivendi has been looking to sell its stake in Maroc Telecom — which also operates in Burkina Faso, Gabon, Mali and Maurtainia — as it shifts its focus away from telecoms and towards its media properties, which include Universal Music Group and French pay TV company Canal Plus.

The future of Vivendi-owned French operator SFR is also uncertain, with reports that an IPO is being considered for the business. Vivendi has also suggested it could restart an auction for its Brazilian phone operator GVT, which was suspended in March after failing to secure a suitable price.

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Tim Ferguson

Tim joined Mobile World Live in August 2011 and works across all channels, with a particular focus on apps. He came to the GSMA with five years of tech journalism experience, having started his career as a reporter... More

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