Vivendi, a leading French company in content and media, announced on Wednesday that it sold its 53 per cent stake in the Moroccan telecom operator Maroc Telecom to Etisalat.
The final sale price, in accordance with November 2013 agreements, amounted to 4.138 billion euros (US$5.46 billion) after price adjustments, said Vivendi in a statement published in Rabat.
The Maroc Telecom sale is part of the Vivendi group's strategy to refocus and develop its media and content businesses. Closing the deal also enables Vivendi to reduce its debt, the statement added.
"Vivendi has been particularly pleased and proud to support Maroc Telecom in its national and sub-Saharan Africa development. A new chapter is being written today by Vivendi as we aim to grow in media and content,” said Chairman of Vivendi's Supervisory Board Jean-Rene Fourtou.
The chairman added that the recent agreement will allow Maroc Telecom to be active in nine African countries.
"With Etisalat, its new shareholder, Maroc Telecom will be fully equipped to also take new steps toward growth,” Fourtou said.
Etisalat is the 12th biggest telecom firm in the world and operates in 15 countries in the Middle East, Africa and Asia. The UAE government holds a 60 percent stake in Etisalat, while the remaining 40 per cent is listed to the public.
Etisalat, the most valuable company in the UAE, started to bid for Vivendi's 53 per cent stake in Maroc Telecom in January 2013. By July 2013, Vivendi confirmed it would sell its stake in the North African telecom operator.
On May 5, Maroc Telecom announced it had reached an agreement with Etisalat to buy its units in Africa for US$650 million.
Maroc Telecom will buy the Atlantique Telecom, Etisalat's West African subsidiary, which has mobile operations in Benin, the Central African Republic, Gabon, Cote d'Ivoire, Niger and Togo, as well as Prestige Telecom in Cote d'Ivoire, said the company in a statement.
Maroc Telecom also has operations in Burkina Faso, Gabon, Mali and Mauritania, which complement Etisalat's existing presence in sub-Saharan Africa countries, the statement said.
Source: The Gulf Today