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MTN 'eyeing investment' in Morocco’s biggest telco

By , ITWeb
Morocco , 25 Oct 2012

MTN 'eyeing investment' in Morocco’s biggest telco

Mobile operator MTN is one of four firms that has expressed an interest in purchasing French media firm Vivendi’s 53% stake in Morocco’s biggest telco, Maroc Telecom.

This is according to a Reuters report that says Vivendi, which first bought a stake in Maroc in 2001, hopes to garner at least $7.13 billion from a potential deal.

Maroc Telecom is the North African country’s biggest telecommunications operator, as the firm has a 47.5% and 44% share respectively of the country’s mobile phone services and high-speed internet markets. Earlier this year, Maroc reported it had 17 million domestic mobile customers. The company also has international operations in Burkina Faso, Gabon, Mali and Mauritania

MTN, on the other hand, operates across Africa and the Middle East with its total subscriber base being 182 million, according to its chief executive officer Sifiso Dabengwa.

However, MTN declined to comment on whether it’s planning to buy into Maroc.

"MTN is always looking for value-enhancing opportunities but we never comment on speculation about those opportunities until the right time," said spokesperson Rich Mkhondo saying.

Apart from South Africa’s MTN; the likes of Qatar Telecom, the United Arab Emirates’ Etisalat and Saudi Telecom have all reportedly spoken to Vivendi's bankers about acquiring the stake.

Vivendi, meanwhile, hopes to sign a deal before the end of the first quarter of 2013, a source told Reuters. The French media company is seeking to sell assets to cut debt and revive its flagging share price, which is nearing 10-year lows.

MTN is a surprise name in the race because observers had seen the South African group as unlikely to be interested for political reasons linked to Morocco's occupation of the Western Sahara.

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