VENTURE AFRICA – South Korea’s telecoms company, KT Corp, is also bidding to buy Vivendi’s 53 percent stake in Maroc Telecom, Morocco’s telecommunications giant, it was confirmed on Monday.
According to Reuters, the South Korean company has been lining up banks to advise on a deal potentially worth over $6 billion, sources said late on Monday. Citgroup, Credit Suisse and Societe Generale will advise KT Corp and finance its investment in Morocco’s main telecoms operator if it is successful, sources told The Economic Times. “With the Koreans now lining up advisory and financing options, this process is getting very competitive,” one of the sources told The Economic Times.
“We still expect the Gulf bidders to have an edge but a lot of factors will come into play,” the source said in an apparent reference to Qatar’s Qtel and United Arab Emirates’ Etisalat which have made non-binding bids.
It is understood that the bidders have yet to hear back from Vivendi and a deadline for binding offers has yet to be set, the sources said.
KT Corp has previously looked at businesses in Africa but not yet done a deal, they said.
Meanwhile, Reuters reported that Vivendi is under pressure from shareholders to bolster its flagging share price and from rating agencies to reduce its debt, which stands at 15.7 billion euros ($21.2 billion), according to Thomson Reuters data. Subsequently, the French media, entertainment and telecoms firm is looking to dispose of numerous assets as part of an overhaul aimed at cutting debt and reducing its exposure to the capital-intensive telecoms business.
It is also believed that Vivendi could turn to France Telecom as a possible buyer of the Maroc Telecoms stake if none of the existing three bidders met its price expectations and Morocco’s requirements, the sources said.
The Economic Times reports that France Telecom would have to dispose of its 40 percent stake in Maroc Telecom’s local rival Meditel but Maroc Telecom would give the French group access to the market leader as well as several other African markets.