Tuesday, August 3, 2010

FT 'Planning to Buy Meditel'

Reuters reports that France Telecom (Orange) is in ‘advanced’ talks with the owners of Morocco's second largest mobile operator Medi Telecom (Meditel) to acquire a 40% share in the company.

Moroccan business weekly Acutel wrote over the weekend, ‘It is official. The negotiations between the owners of Meditel, CDG and Finance.com, and Orange are at an advanced stage,’ and went on to speculate that the stake could be priced at around EUR650 million (USD849 million). Spain's Telefonica and Portugal Telecom last year sold their respective stakes of 32.2% each in Meditel to the operator's other shareholders, Moroccan private investment group Finance.com and state investment vehicle Caisse de Depots et de Gestion (CDG) for USD1.15 billion in total.

Whilst the domestic owners have declared they can run the company alone, they have also indicated their openness to a range of options including a stock market listing and a partnership with a new, major player strategic investor. In March 2010 it was rumoured that the UAE’s Etisalat had ‘agreed’ to acquire a 45% interest in Meditel, which offers cellular, broadband and fixed line services, but a deal did not materialise.

TeleGeography's GlobalComms Database notes that France Telecom sold its Moroccan ISP Maroc Connect (Wanadoo) in August 2004 to the CDG and ONA groups, before ONA bought out CDG in 2005; Maroc Connect became Wana, which launched the successful fixed-wireless and cellular brands Bayn and Inwi, along the way attracting a new foreign investor, Kuwait-based Zain Group.

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