French telecoms and media conglomerate Vivendi Universal has agreed to buy an additional 16% stake in Maroc Telecom for EUR1.1 billion to take its holding to 51%. The deal, which will become effective in January 2005, ends long-running speculation over Vivendi’s commitment to the Moroccan telecoms sector. In early 2003 media reports suggested that cash-strapped Vivendi was to pull out of the country in order to concentrate on its other ‘core’ businesses. In May 2003, after exploring the possible sale of its stake, VU made an abrupt turnaround and said it would keep its holding and accept the state’s offer of an additional 16%. It has taken 18 months to complete the purchase.
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