Etisalat buys 53% of Maroc Telecom

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

Emirates Telecommunications Corporation has acquired a 53 per cent stake in Maroc Telecom from French conglomerate Vivendi.

The UAE telecom operator known as etisalat made a binding offer that valued each Maroc Telecom share at 92.6 Moroccan dirhams, which has put the deal size to Dh19.2 billion, etisalat said in a regulatory statement to the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange.

The consideration does not include the dividend received by Vivendi from Maroc Telecom in respect of the 2012 financial year, equivalent to 7.40 Moroccan dirhams per share, which will also be for the benefit of etisalat, it said in a Press statement.

At closing, etisalat will pay Vivendi the cash value of such 2012 dividend of Dh1.5 billion.

Closing of the acquisition of Vivendi’s stake in Maroc Telecom by  etisalat is subject to a number of regulatory approvals and conditions, including the execution of a shareholders’ agreement with the Kingdom of Morocco regarding Maroc Telecom, securing competition and regulatory and approvals in Morocco and certain other relevant jurisdictions in Maroc Telecom’s footprint. Maroc telecom makes about 75 per cent of its revenue in Morocco, where it is the largest phone company, and owns assets in Mali, Burkina Faso, Gabon and Mauritania.

Etisalat’s bid made perfect sense as it has strong presence in Africa, where Maroc Telecom is also a key player.

The stake sale is part of Vivendi’s plan to refocus on media and content distribution, rather than telecommunications, after chairman Jean-Rene Fourtou and the board decided last year to sell assets instead of splitting the Paris-based company in two.

French conglomerate Vivendi is interested in selling its assets to pay down debt in order to boost its share price and reduce the group’s exposure to telecom businesses.

Maroc Telecom, in which Vivendi first bought a stake in 2001, offers fixed-line, mobile and internet services in the kingdom, and is also one of Africa’s main telecom operators.

Etisalat, which has footprints in 17 countries, spent about $12.6 billion between 2004 and 2009 in acquiring strategic interest in foreign telecoms.

Maroc Telecom, or Itissalt Al Maghrib, is a public listed firm on both Casablanca and Euronext.