The Moroccan government has requested that UAE-owned group Etisalat should take on a local partner in order to gain approval for its bid for the controlling 53% stake in Morocco’s biggest wireline and mobile network provider Maroc Telecom, Reuters reports. According to the article, the government wants to ensure that the new owner of the company invests substantially in broadband and mobile infrastructure, as the telecoms sector is crucial for the Moroccan economy. Sources familiar with the matter have also revealed that the mandate for Etisalat to find a local partner is slowing the deal’s progress, though it is not expected to completely derail it. For its part, Etisalat is reportedly not opposed to having a minority shareholder, which could either buy the 17% share of the company publicly floated on the stock exchange, or part of the government’s 30% stake. As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, the Moroccan government will have the final say in Vivendi’s eventual choice of buyer.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, French media and telecoms group Vivendi confirmed the receipt of two binding offers for its 53% controlling stake in Maroc Telecom from Etisalat and Ooredoo, formerly Qatar Telecom (Qtel). In June 2013 the latter withdrew its bid from the tender in a move which left Etisalat as the sole bidder for Morocco’s biggest wireline and mobile network provider, currently valued at EUR4.2 billion (USD5.6 billion).