UAE-owned group Etisalat is considering entering into a partnership with Moroccan investment group Caisse de Depot et de Gestion (CDG), which manages the state’s pension funds, for the acquisition of French media group Vivendi’s 53% controlling stake in Morocco’s largest telco in terms of subscribers Maroc Telecom, Al Arabia reports. As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, the Moroccan government requested that Etisalat should take on a local partner in order to gain approval for its bid; the government wanted to ensure that the new owner of the company would invest substantially in broadband and mobile infrastructure.
CDG’s chief executive Anas Alami said: ‘The law allows us to take up to 10% of Maroc Telecom, which it is already a lot for us.’ However, TeleGeography notes that CDG cannot take a larger than 10% stake in Maroc Telecom as it already controls 30% of rival network operator Medi Telecom (Meditel), along with Orange Group (40%) and Morocco’s FinanceCom (30%). Mr Alami, however, did not clarify if CDG would buy part of Vivendi’s 53% majority stake or the 17% of Maroc Telecom that is currently floated on the stock exchange, as Moroccan Finance Minister Nizar Baraka previously told Reuters that the government’s 30% stake in the company was not for sale.
According to CommsUpdate, 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). French media company Vivendi Universal holds 53% of Maroc Telecom via its wholly owned subsidiary Societe de Participation dans les Telecommunications. Since Maroc Telecom is 30% owned by the state, the Moroccan government will have the final say in Vivendi’s eventual choice of buyer