French media conglomerate Vivendi has reportedly entered into exclusive negotiations with UAE-owned telecoms group Etisalat for the sale of its controlling 53% stake in Moroccan telco Maroc Telecom, Reuters reports. According to the article, Vivendi is expected to sell its stake for EUR4.2 billion (USD5.54 billion) and the deal could be announced as early as this week. An anonymous source told Reuters: ‘All the work has been done on the two sides; we are just waiting for Vivendi’s board to approve the deal.’ When finalised, the Maroc Telecom sale would be the first major divestment by Vivendi in line with its strategy to overhaul its operations by reducing exposure to telecoms and focusing more on its media business.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Vivendi Universal holds 53% of Maroc Telecom via its wholly owned subsidiary Societe de Participation dans les Telecommunications. Meanwhile, 30% of the company is owned by the local government and the remainder of the shares are floated on the local bourse. In April 2013 Vivendi confirmed the receipt of two binding offers for its stake from Etisalat and Ooredoo, formerly Qatar Telecom (Qtel), although last month 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.