French conglomerate Vivendi is considering selling its controlling stake in Morocco’s largest operator Maroc Telecom, reports The Financial Times, in a move that could net the company as much as EUR4 billion.
According to sources, Vivendi is already talking to investment banks Lazard and Crédit Agricole about hiring them to assess the potential sale of its 53 percent stake in Maroc Telecom.
Operators with interests in the Middle-East and North Africa, such as Etisalat and Qtel, are likely to be interested in the stake if it becomes available. However, some industry experts have said that selling the stake could be difficult due to political sensitivities in Morocco.
Maroc Telecom is Vivendi’s second largest source of revenue after SFR but faces an increasingly competitive domestic market while having a growing international business. According to Wireless Intelligence, Maroc Telecom has 17.4 million connections – of which 2.3 million are 3G connections – compared to Meditel’s 11.4 million and inwi’s 8.6 million.
Vivendi, which also owns French number-two SFR, has struggled in 2012 with its share price falling sharply and its CEO Jean-Bernard Lévy departing in June due to disagreement with the board concerning strategy.
The French mass media and telecommunication company launched a strategic review of its business in April and is working with Deutsche Bank and Rotshchild to find a buyer for its GVT fixed-lined business in Brazil. In May, the company warned of “drastic” changes at SFR.