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Etisalat Expects to Complete Maroc Telecom Deal by end of May

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UAE's Etisalat says that it aims to complete the long running purchase of a majority stake in Morocco's Maroc Telecom by the end of May.

Etisalat agreed to buy the 53% stake in the Moroccan mobile network from France's Vivendi last November following a protracted bidding process for EUR4.2 billion (USD5.8 billion), but completion has taken longer than expected.

The original plan had been for Vivendi to sell the company by last April, but was still in negotiations with two bidders. The deadline for the negotiations was extended twice, and the deal with Etisalat was not finally signed until early November.

"It depends on regulatory approvals from the different countries where Maroc Telecom is operating. Based on our current estimation it will be before the end of May," Serkan Okandan, Etisalat's chief financial officer, told Reuters, when asked when he expected the deal would be completed.

Etisalat has also previously said that local regulations could require it to offer to also buy out the minority shareholders, so it could end up with more than the 53% being sold by Vivendi.

Vivendi owns 53% of Maroc Telecom, with 17% listed on a local stock market. The remaining 30% is owned by the government which also has a veto over any change in ownership.

Maroc Telecom has operations in Gabon, Mauritania, Burkina Faso and Mali.

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Tags: etisalat  maroc telecom  vivendi  Morocco