We noticed you're blocking ads.

Keep supporting great journalism by turning off your ad blocker.

Questions about why you are seeing this? Contact us

Font Size

- Aa +

Mon 15 Apr 2013 02:11 PM

Font Size

- Aa +

Gulf telcos vie for Maroc after KT Corp withdraws

Qatar's Ooredoo, formerly named Qtel, and the UAE's Etisalat remain in telecom stake bid

Gulf telcos vie for Maroc after KT Corp withdraws
(Photo for illustrative purposes only)

South Korean telecoms company KT Corp has withdrawn from the bidding for Vivendi's 53 percent stake in Maroc Telecom, although it said it may still consider various investment options.

KT Corp previously submitted a letter of intent to buy Vivendi's stake in Maroc Telecom in a deal which the seller hopes could raise 5.5 billion euros ($7.20bn).

However, in an email sent to its financial advisers and obtained by Reuters, KT has now said it has decided not to bid because "we could not help but be concerned about the discrepancy between KT's own valuation and that of the market and sell-side."

Servicing the debt associated with a potential bid was also an issue in the decision to withdraw, as was a lack of resolution on a "tax dispute" and "unforeseen tax issues in the future."

The departure of KT leaves Qatari firm Ooredoo, formerly named Qtel, and the UAE's Etisalat as the sole contenders for Maroc Telecom, whose sale is crucial to a Vivendi management struggling to cut its telecoms interests and reduce debt to focus instead on its music and pay-TV media businesses.

Some bankers had already considered KT's bid to be a relative longshot against the two Gulf-based contenders, who are better known to the government of Morocco, which owns 30 percent of the telecoms operator.

People involved in the auction have said Etisalat and Qtel were running neck and neck in the auction and that both had the financial firepower to back their bids.

Given the Moroccan telecom market's growth potential, KT said it was keeping the door open to "various forms of business partnership and even investment" in Maroc Telecom depending on future circumstance.

Arabian Business: why we're going behind a paywall

For all the latest tech news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
Real news, real analysis and real insight have real value – especially at a time like this. Unlimited access ArabianBusiness.com can be unlocked for as little as $4.75 per month. Click here for more details.