Vodafone said to eye Maroc Telecom as Etisalat waits on deal

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(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

UK-based telecommunications giant Vodafone Group is reportedly interested in buying a significant stake in Morocco’s Maroc Telecom, which had been expected to confirm the $5.54bn sale of a 53 percent stake to the UAE’s Etisalat.

A week after selling its 45 percent stake in US-based Verizon Wireless for $130bn, Vodafone Group was looking to invest $6bn in Maroc Telecom, according to TeleGeography.

It also was interested in France’s second largest telco in terms of subscribers, SFR.

The website did not detail what size the stake in Maroc would be, or whether it was in competition against Etisalat, which was in line to take over more than half of the company from French conglomerate Vivendi, which is looking to divest.

An agreement, which was pending Etisalat signing up with a local partner, had been expected to be confirmed in July but is now set to be finalised in 1-2 months, according to Morocco's Minister of Foreign Affairs Saadeddine Othmani.

If Etisalat is successful, the operator also would be required to make an offer for minority shares.

Qatar national telecommunications provider Ooredoo also had been in the running but pulled out in June.

The Moroccan state telecom owns 30 percent of the kingdom's biggest mobile and fixed communications provider and must approve Vivendi's choice of buyer.

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