French media group Vivendi is reportedly urging France Telecom-Orange (FT-Orange) to place a bid for Vivendi’s controlling stake in Moroccan incumbent telco Maroc Telecom, the Wall Street Journal reported. According to people familiar with the matter, FT-Orange has been contemplating a potential bid for the North African telco for months, though no decision has been made yet. A spokesman for FT-Orange was quoted as saying: ‘It’s something we’re looking at because it’s strategically interesting, but there’s no offer on the table.’ Currently, the competition for Maroc telecom has been narrowed to one official bidder, Emirates Telecommunications Corporation (Etisalat), after Qatar-based Ooredoo withdrew its bid from the months long auction on 14 June 2013.
According to TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, in March 2013 FT-Orange’s executive director of strategy and development Elie Girard said that the company had ‘no plans’ involving Maroc Telecom at the time, although confirmed that it was studying potential opportunities in African states including Burkina Faso and Mauritania (both countries in which Maroc Telecom has subsidiaries). FT-Orange is already present in Morocco via the country’s second-largest cellco Meditel, although it holds a non-controlling (40%) stake.