With the preliminary bid deadline of 22 April looming for interested parties to submit an offer for Maroc Telecom, it has been reported that South Africa’s MTN Group is poised to lodge a late bid for the company. Three separate sources with knowledge of the transaction told TMT Finance that MTN is in the midst of discussions with ‘several banks’ in a last minute attempt to raise financing to fund a bid for the Moroccan telecoms group,
Last week TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate reported that MTN is willing to spend up to ZAR71.12 billion (USD7.97 billion) on an acquisition and is looking for targets on the African continent. Aside from its domestic unit, Maroc Telecom counts subsidiaries in Burkina Faso (Office Nationale des Telecommunications, Onatel), Mauritania (Mauritel), Gabon (Gabon Telecom), Mali (Societe des Telecommunications du Mali, SOTELMA). Vivendi’s 53% stake in the Moroccan firm is valued at around USD6 billion.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, two potential bidders are now left in the running for the telecom, namely Qatar Telecom (Ooreedo) and the UAE’s Etisalat, although Saudi Telecom Company (STC) is still mentioned in some reports as being interested in the auction. Dubai-based Etisalat has already secured an USD8 billion dual-tranche loan to finance its bid. Since Maroc Telecom is 30% owned by the state, the Moroccan government will have the final say in Vivendi’s eventual choice of buyer.