Etisalat is emerging as the forerunner in the race to acquire Vivendi’s stake in Maroc Telecom, with the French group confirming that the two parties have begun “exclusive negotiations”.
The UAE-based operator has long been interested in buying Vivendi’s 53% holding in the Moroccan provider and has offered €4.2 billion for the stake. The sum includes a dividend for 2012.
However, while the deal appears to be on the home straight it is by no means secure for Etisalat; the operator must secure approval from the Moroccan government, while Vivendi must come to an agreement with the French Works Councils over the sale.
Fortunately, the Moroccan government has reportedly expressed that it is not opposed to the deal. It may impose some conditions, with reports indicating that Etisalat may be obliged to work with a local partner if it wishes to secure the deal.
Maroc Telecom is reportedly also courting interest from several institutional investors – it remains to be seen whether this results in financial support for the business. Vivendi and Etisalat aim to close the deal by year-end 2013.