Etisalat expects to close Maroc Telecom deal next week

Etisalat expects to close Maroc Telecom deal next week

08 MAY 2014

UAE-based operator group Etisalat said it expects to complete the acquisition of a majority stake in Maroc Telecom on 14 May.

The completion of the deal will come six months after French media group Vivendi first agreed to sell its 53 per cent stake in the Moroccan market leader to Etisalat for €4.2 billion.

It was clear the deal was progressing when Etisalat confirmed at the end of April that it had secured €3.15 billion in financing to help fund the acquisition.

The announcement also suggests that the agreement has met, or will meet, certain conditions, including approval from the Moroccan government, which holds a 30 per cent stake in Maroc Telecom, and the blessing of regulators in the countries in which Maroc Telecom operates, including Burkina Faso, Gabon, Mali and Mauritania.

The acquisition of the Maroc Telecom stake will boost Etisalat’s position in Africa, where it already has operations in Egypt and Nigeria, among others.

The group announced earlier this week that it would sell operations in French-speaking West Africa to Maroc Telecom for a total of $650 million.

Although no reason was given for the planned transaction, it has been suggested that the operations would benefit from the expertise of Maroc Telecom, which as well as Morocco, has had success with operations in Gabon, Mali, Burkina Faso and Mauritania.

This agreement is dependent on Etisalat securing the Maroc Telecom stake, as well as competition and regulatory approvals in the six countries in which the operations are based.

Etisalat group CEO Ahmad Abdulkarim Julfar recently said the company plans to continue to expand its “service offering and geographic footprint” to diversify its revenue base and “cement our regional leadership position”— with Africa remaining a strategic region.

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.

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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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