Qtel picks JP Morgan to advise on Maroc bid - sources

  • Share via facebook
  • Tweet this
  • Bookmark and Share

Gulf telecom operator Qtel has hired JP Morgan Chase to advise it on a potential bid for Vivendi's Maroc Telecom, said four people familiar with the matter.

Vivendi aims to garner at least €5.5bn (US$7.14bn) for its 53 percent stake in Morocco's biggest fixed and mobile operator, and has received initial expressions of interest from four carriers, sources told Reuters in October.

The French conglomerate is exploring selling several assets as part of an ongoing strategy review intended to pay down debt, boost a flagging share price and reduce the group's exposure to capital-intensive telecom businesses.

Spokesmen for JP Morgan, Qtel and Vivendi declined to comment.

Maroc Telecom, in which Vivendi first bought a stake in 2001, offers fixed-line, mobile and internet services in the kingdom, and is also one of Africa's main telecom operators with units in Burkina Faso, Gabon, Mali and Mauritania.

Maroc Telecom, which is Vivendi's second-biggest division, has seen its growth slow in recent years amid tough competition, prompting a recent round of staff reductions that led 800 employees to take redundancy packages by July.

Other bidders may emerge. France Telecom's CEO, which already owns a minority stake in the kingdom's second-biggest operator Meditel, has said Maroc Telecom would be a "strategically interesting" acquisition.

United Arab Emirates-based Etisalat, Saudi Telecom , and South Africa's MTN have also had spoken to Vivendi's advisers about Maroc Telecom, sources told Reuters in October.

The kingdom of Morocco, which owns a 30 percent stake, would need to approve any sale.

Qtel, majority owned by the Qatar government, has expanded into more than 16 countries in the past decade and spent nearly US$4bn this year to take majority ownership of its Iraqi unit Asiacell and Kuwaiti arm Wataniya in separate deals.

In addition to the JP Morgan mandate, Qtel mandated six banks for a possible benchmark-sized dollar-denominated bond, lead arrangers said on Sunday, a move banking sources say may be to finance a potential bid for Maroc Telecom.

"There is the potential bond issue and banks are also lining up to arrange a bridge financing agreement which may be used to finance the acquisition," said one banking source aware of the matter.

The source added that Qtel should not have difficulty raising money to finance a bid. "It's a top-tier Qatar name with the backing of the state and a proven ability to do large transactions."

For JP Morgan, the mandate win is another signal the US lender is making key inroads in the wealthy Gulf state which has traditionally relied heavily on Credit Suisse and Barclays to execute deals.

The bank is currently an adviser to Qatar National Bank, the Gulf state's largest lender, in its bid for Societe Generale's Egyptian arm, a deal seen raising at least US$2bn for the French lender.


Market Performance

Qatar Telecom
0.0 0.0 (%)
Join the Discussion

Disclaimer:The view expressed here by our readers are not necessarily shared by Arabian Business, its employees, sponsors or its advertisers.

Please post responsibly. Commenter Rules

  • No comments yet, be the first!

Enter the words above: Enter the numbers you hear:

All comments are subject to approval before appearing

Further reading

Features & Analysis
Growth spurt for Gulf's e-commerce sector

Growth spurt for Gulf's e-commerce sector

The recent sale of Talabat.com to Germany’s Rocket Internet for...

What's behind modern spaceship design?

What's behind modern spaceship design?

A fleet of privately owned vehicles is set to challenge NASA...

Insider: Oil and gas sector in fear of hackers as cyber attacks surge 179%

Insider: Oil and gas sector in fear of hackers as cyber attacks surge 179%

Experts have put the vital industry on high alert as the threat...

Most Discussed
  • 17
    Nakheel PR: The toughest job in Dubai?

    You forgot to mention the sewage pit between JLT and Jumeirah Park and the terrible landscaping in Jumeirah Park The chain link fencing they want to install... more

    Monday, 30 March 2015 9:05 AM - An Emaar Fan
  • 14
    Dubai Int'l T1 is too congested, says Indian airline boss

    Question: All you people, criticizing my comment, do you work for Air India by any chance?

    Additionally, for all the whiners, I will provide you... more

    Tuesday, 31 March 2015 12:50 PM - Mosa
  • 9
    Post traumatic stress?

    I once had a Emirates Post employee hang up on me when I asked her to repeat something. That said, the worst is my management company, Kingfield Management... more

    Sunday, 29 March 2015 6:07 PM - Sarah