VIVENDI has agreed terms to sell its 53 per cent stake in Maroc Telecom to the UAE’s Etisalat for €4.2bn (£3.5bn), the latest step in the French conglomerate’s drive to become more media focused.
Looking to pay down its debts and revive its shares, Vivendi is selling assets such as Maroc Telecom and video games maker Activision Blizzard to concentrate on music and pay-TV businesses that it believes have greater growth potential.
The transaction, which Vivendi said would likely be concluded in early 2014, will see Etisalat pay Vivendi €3.9bn for the stake, plus a further €300m in 2012 dividends from Maroc Telecom, according to separate statements from the buyer and seller yesterday.
The sale is subject to various regulatory approvals, with Maroc Telecom also having operations in Burkina Faso, Gabon, Mali and Mauritania, and follows protracted negotiations following Etisalat’s initial bid in January. Qatar’s Ooredoo withdrew its offer in June.
Morocco’s government owns 30 per cent of Maroc Telecom, with the remaining 17 per cent publicly traded.
The Maroc deal will be Etisalat's first big purchase this decade after spending about $12.6bn on foreign acquisitions from 2004 to 2009 that added little to its profits.
Maroc Telecom posted a 4.7 per cent drop in consolidated revenue for the nine months to 30 September to 21.47bn dinars.
City A.M. Reporter