Maroc Telecom completes acquisition of six Etisalat units in Africa

Maroc Telecom said it has finalised the acquisition of Etisalat subsidiaries in six West African countries, with the final transaction cost amounting to €474 million ($538 million).

The units in question are based in Benin, Ivory Coast, Gabon, Niger, Central African Republic and Togo. The acquisition also involves Prestige Telecom, which provides IT services on behalf of Etisalat subsidiaries in these countries.

"Finalising this acquisition marks an important milestone in the development of the Maroc Telecom group, and consolidates its strategic position as a major telecom player in Africa, with a presence in ten countries with high growth potential," commented Maroc Telecom chairman Abdeslam Ahizoune.

The move brings to an end the final phase of a deal that saw UAE-based operator Etisalat acquire 53 per cent of Maroc Telecom from Vivendi, after the French media group decided to dispose of its various telecoms businesses. The acquisition of the Morocco-based operator was completed last May for a total price of €4.1 billion.

Etisalat then agreed to sell its stakes in its French-speaking West Africa operations to Maroc Telecom in order to consolidate control of the West Africa operations and benefit from Maroc Telecom's experience in this market.

At the time, Etisalat noted that the purchase also represented the largest ever M&A deal in Morocco, the largest cross-border deal in Middle East and North Africa (MENA), and the largest ever telecoms transaction in North Africa.

In May, Etisalat dropped its bid to acquire all outstanding shares in Maroc Telecom, reversing a previous offer. The operator gained an exemption from a Moroccan trading rule that required it to bid for outstanding free float shares in the African operator.

At the end of June last year, Etisalat's total subscriber base grew by 27 per cent year-on-year to reach 182 million subscribers, also as a result of the consolidation of Maroc Telecom. Etisalat is now present in 19 markets in the MENA region.

For more:
- see this Maroc Telecom release

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