Sawiris eyeing acquisition of Vivendi’s SFR

Sawiris eyeing acquisition of Vivendi’s SFR

Egyptian tycoon Naguib Sawiris is reportedly considering the acquisition of Vivendi’s French mobile operation SFR in a deal that could be valued at €13 to €14 billion.

He confirmed to the Financial Times that he is interested in the mobile operation which has struggled recently due to a fiercely competitive domestic market.

“We are looking at [SFR] through one of our subsidiaries,” he told the publication. “The problem is that the numbers are very high. [Vivendi owns] big assets so would require a big group.”

Sawiris has been in the headlines this week after it was revealed that he had made an offer to invest in Telecom Italia.

Reports in the Italian media linked the bid with a rights issue that would allow the group to lower its debt and acquire another of Vivendi’s businesses, Brazilian telco GVT.

These latest forays into the market come after several asset sales by the magnate, having sold his global telecoms empire to VimpelCom last year for more than $6 billion.

This year he also sold his stake in Egypt’s Mobinil to France Telecom, shares in VimpelCom to Altimo and Telenor and his stake in Telekom Austria to América Móvil.

The FT report cites a person close to Vivendi as saying that a more likely outcome for SFR would be a deal or joint venture in its home market, having been linked with French cable group Numericable and rival Iliad.

Analyst firm Jeffries values the business at €13.7 billion or 4.5 times expected 2013 EBITDA.

Sawiris still owns telecoms operations in some countries, including North Korea where he said business was booming with nearly two million subscribers.

The tycoon has shown that he is keen to acquire more telecoms assets after recently making the decision to create a private equity group, but he admitted to the publication that he was in no hurry, having achieved zero personal debt and zero corporate debt.

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