UAE-based telecoms company Emirates Telecommunications Corporation (Etisalat) has announced that its proposal to acquire 17% of the minority shareholding in Moroccan incumbent telco Maroc Telecom, which is publicly floated on the Moroccan stock exchange, has been rejected by the country’s Securities Commission, Conseil Deontologique des Valeurs Mobilieres (CDVM). According to a CDVM press release, in accordance with Article 18 of Law 26-03 ‘the takeover bid project was declared non-admissible with regards to the national strategic economic interests’; following Decision DO/EM/010/2014, the Casablanca Stock Exchange resumed trading of Maroc Telecom’s shares on 26 May 2014.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, Etisalat, which agreed to acquire Vivendi’s controlling 53% stake in Moroccan incumbent telco Maroc Telecom earlier this month, submitted a mandatory tender offer to buy out the remaining minority shareholders in the North African firm in May 2014. The company did not, however, reveal the price per share it proposed; under bourse rules, companies do not need to offer minority shareholders the same price per share they paid in the majority shareholder acquisition. The Kingdom of Morocco is the second largest shareholder in the Moroccan operator with a 30% stake, while 17% of the company is publicly floated.
Meanwhile, Etisalat has secured a USD500 million grant for the acquisition of the controlling 53% stake in Maroc Telecom. Reuters reports that the funding was provided by the government of Abu Dhabi; the grant comes on top of an 8.7% stake taken by the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development – a state body which provides affordable loans and grants for projects in developing nations – in Etisalat International North Africa (EINA), the legal entity that will hold Etisalat’s Maroc Telecom stake. According to unnamed sources, the state will reportedly provide a quarter of the funding for the purchase of the stake, worth EUR4.14 billion (USD5.64 billion) from France’s media group Vivendi, with the rest coming from bank loans.