Ooredoo has dropped out of the running to acquire a majority stake in Maroc Telecom from French media group Vivendi, leaving Etisalat as the only remaining bidder.
Ooredoo CEO Nasser Marafih said that despite Maroc Telecom being a good fit for its international portfolio, it is no longer in the best interests of the Qatar-based operator group to commit capital “to what has become a lengthy process”.
Marafih said Ooredoo (formerly Qtel) will now focus on “generating value in other opportunities across our global footprint through organic and acquisitive strategies”.
Bloomberg reports that Vivendi is now in talks with Etisalat which is the only remaining bidder for the 53 per cent stake in Morocco’s largest operator. Sources said negotiations are moving forwards between the two companies although a deal is some way off.
Vivendi is selling the stake as it moves its business away from telecommunications. It is targeting a completion of the sale by October and agreement will also be needed from Morocco’s government, which owns a 30 per cent stake in Maroc Telecom.
Ooredoo made an indicative offer for the stake in December 2012 before submitting a fully-financed binding offer in April. The operator group raised $12 billion to finance the bid but Reuters reported that Etisalat tabled a higher offer.
South Korea’s KT was also in the mix but withdrew its interest due to concern about “the discrepancy between KT’s own valuation and that of the market and sell-side”.
It was reported last week that Vivendi is close to an IPO for its French operator, SFR.