Qtel interested in Maroc Telecom stake
Vivendi’s stake in leading Moroccan operator Maroc Telecom has reportedly attracted interest from Qatari state-owned carrier Qtel.
The Financial Times reports that Qtel is lining up a bid for the 53% stake but faces competition from Etisalat, citing people with knowledge of the situation.
It is speculated that politics could play a large role in the sale with Qtel more than two thirds state-owned and Maroc Telecom 30% owned by the Moroccan government.
Vivendi has opened dialogue with Lazard and Crédit Agricole to act as advisors for the sale.
The sale of the Maroc stake is part of a wider strategic review by Vivendi, which has also seen the French media group hire advisors for the sale of its Brazilian telecoms group GVT and even the merger of its largest business SFR with French cable group Numericable.
SFR has also attracted interest from Vodafone, which sold its 44% stake in the French operator to Vivendi for €7.8 billion last year.
Vivendi’s chairman, Jean-René Fourtou, is believed to favour Vivendi’s media holdings over its telecoms assets, with the company having recently acquired the music business of EMI for £1.2 billion.
The arrival of French billionnaire Vincent Bolloré, who was recently offered a seat on the Vivendi board after increasing his stake in the company to more than 5%, has also added to this perception. Bolloré has previously made money by investing in underperforming media assets.