Qatar-based telecoms operator Ooredoo, formerly known as Qatar Telecom, has withdrawn its bid for French media group Vivendi’s 53% controlling stake in Morocco’s incumbent telco Maroc Telecom, Reuters reported. Ooredoo’s CEO Nasser Marafih said in a statement: ‘We are thus withdrawing our offer and we will focus our attention on generating value in other opportunities across our global footprint through organic and acquisitive strategies’. The move left UAE-owned group Emirates Telecommunications Corporation (Etisalat) as the sole bidder for Morocco’s biggest wireline and mobile network provider, currently valued at EUR4.2 billion (USD5.6 billion). Sources familiar with the matter stated that negotiations between Vivendi and Etisalat are advancing, after Etisalat reportedly agreed to remove some legal conditions which were hindering its bid.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Etisalat secured a USD8 billion dual-tranche loan facility to finance its bid in April 2013, with the group’s shareholders being asked to approve the external funding at an extraordinary shareholders’ meeting held in May 2013; their backing was required because the amount of funding exceeded Etisalat’s own capital. A report from Reuters suggested that 68% of shareholders approved the move while the maximum amount of financing cannot exceed EUR6.67 billion.