Acquisition Time in the North African Telco Sector
[The North Africa Journal | Mergers and Acquisitions] The telecommunications sector has been very busy lately in North Africa. Companies are looking for new assets to acquire in a bid to grow their business in emerging markets. Among the most important transactions recorded in the telco sector is the acquisition by France Telecom of a substantial stake in Morocco’s Meditel, the Kingdom’s second largest carrier. The other transaction is the acquisition by Russia’s VimpelCom of Egypt’s Orascom Telecom. This acquisition brings another wildcard to the long-lasting feud between the Egyptian owner of Orascom Telecom Algeria and the Algerian government.Made public in early August, negotiations between France Telecom (FT) and key Moroccan shareholders of Moroccan telecommunications firm Meditel have finally reached their conclusions following weeks speculations. Stephane Richard, the CEO of FT landed in the Moroccan capital Rabat to ink a strategic partnership deal that is expected to be endorsed by the Moroccan telecom regulatory body, the Agence Nationale de Réglementation des Télécommunications (ANRT). Once regulatory approval is secured, FT will hold 40% of Meditel in exchange for €640 millions. Yet, despite this substantial acquisition, FT executives have been seeking to reduce fear about the takeover. “Majority shareholding remains on the Moroccan side,” noted Marc Rennard, head of Africa at FT. Indeed both Moroccan private group FinanceCom and financial institution Caisse de Dépôt et de Gestion control a combined 60% of Meditel’s capital. Continue here | Or subscribe here.