Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

The Tunisian government is likely to delay the selection of candidates for a 35% stake in Tunisie Telecom in order to get more detailed offers from some bidders, a person familiar with the sale process told Dow Jones Newswires on Wednsesday.

The Tunisian government was intially planning to announce the names of the shortlisted candidates Wednesday.

"The presentation should be delayed by up to a few days because the Tunisian government required more information from some of the bidders," the person who requested anonymity said. Another person close to the situation also said there might not be an announcement as planned.

Telecom operators who have submitted preliminary bids are: France Telecom SA ( FTE), Vivendi Universal (V), Bouygues Telecom, Telecom Italia (TI) and Saudi Arabia's Oger Telecom (SO.YY). Portugal Telecom (PT) together with Telefonica (TEF) have also been attracted to the tender although PT is remaining tight-lipped over whether or not it intends to bid for a 35% stake.

The value of the Tunisie Telecom stake being sold is estimated to be around EUR1.3 billion. A deal is expected to be completed by year-end.