Egyptian Orascom talked with Vivendi about a tie-up

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

Naguib Sawiris, the billionaire head of Egyptian cell phone group Orascom Telecom, has approached Vivendi about a possible telecoms tie-up but the pair failed to agree on price, Les Echos said last Fricay

Sawiris said earlier this month that the minute there was an opening in France "we will go there."

Vivendi declined to comment on the report.

The French newspaper said Sawiris had proposed to Vivendi to either do an equity swap, sell part of its assets or take a stake in the Paris-based media and telecoms group.

The paper added that Sawiris had borrowed 4-5 percent Vivendi voting rights from French bank Natixis to put together a complex deal.

Vivendi controls Maroc Telecom and SFR, France's number two mobile operator, while Sawiris' telecoms investments span Egypt, Algeria, Pakistan, Tunisia as well as Wind, Italy's third largest Italian mobile carrier.

Orascom Telecom is the fourth largest Arab mobile operator by market value.

Vivendi has been looking to invest in North Africa but failed to grab Tunisie Telecom and announced this week that talks to take a stake in Oger Telecom had ended without a deal.

Oger Telecom, which is majority owned by Saudi Oger, in turn controlled by relatives of late Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri, provides fixed-line, mobile and web access in Turkey, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Lebanon and Jordan.

Les Echos said Sawiris was considering buying France's fourth 3G license in partnership with broadband provider Iliad.

Sawiris said earlier this month he had recently met with Martin Bouygues, who controls France's third largest mobile phone operator Bouygues Telecom, but had no concrete acquisition discussion with him.

Reuters