Ooredoo shows its hand in Maroc Telecom bidding war

Ooredoo’s chief executive has confirmed that the company has raised $12 billion to fund its potential acquisition of a majority stake in Moroccan market-leader Maroc Telecom. Qatari Ooredoo, previously known as QTel, is looking to acquire the 53% share currently held by the French Vivendi group.

Although Ooredoo’s war chest is substantially higher than the holding’s current market value of $5.6 billion, there are nonetheless unconfirmed reports that UAE-based Etisalat has tabled a higher bid than its rival.

However, the same sources indicate that Etisalat’s offer incorporates more legal stipulations than Ooredoo’s, meaning that the Qatari firm could still have the edge, with Reuters quoting its unnamed source as saying: “If Etisalat cleans up its offer, then it wins. If not, it will go to Qatar, who also made an offer that Vivendi can accept.”

The size of the bids has not been confirmed, but the depth of Ooredoo’s reserve fund will likely give it additional clout if it needs to outbid Etisalat. Whatever the final bids, a potential acquisition will require the approval of the Moroccan government, which is a 30% shareholder in Maroc Telecom.

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