KT lines up advisors for Maroc telecom bid

KT lines up advisors for Maroc telecom bid

South Korea’s KT is reportedly lining up banks to advise on its bid for Vivendi’s 53% stake in Maroc Telecom.

Reports of a bid from KT first emerged at the beginning of the year, after the company failed in its attempt to acquire a 20% stake in South Africa’s Telkom in March 2012.

Citigroup, Credit Suisse and Societe Generale will advise KT and finance the potential investment, according to Reuters’ sources.

The stake has also attracted interest from Middle Eastern players Etisalat and Qtel, which have made non-binding bids.

"We still expect the Gulf bidders to have an edge but a lot of factors will come into play," the source told Reuters.

All of the bidders are yet to hear back from Vivendi and no deadline for binding offers has been set, according to the sources.

Maroc’s other major shareholder is the Moroccan government, owner of a 30% stake, who will need to approve any transaction. It is believed the government may set terms for the successful bidder to work with a local partner.

The stake is made particularly attractive by Maroc’s majority interests in Gabon telecom, Mauritiana’s MaurieTel, Burkina Faso’s Onatel and Mali’s Sotelma.

Reuter’s source said the deal could be a “major game change in Africa” assuming the minority shareholder in these companies could be bought out. This could mean a deal in excess of $7 billion.

It is also believed that France Telecom could be a potential bidder for the stake if none of the existing bids meet Vivendi’s price expectations. The French carrier has recently expressed an interest in expanding its already significant African operations.

"Vivendi is looking for the best price and there are political implications to working with the Moroccan government in future so the buyer will have to fit into all these factors," a second source told the newswire.

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