The tussle over ownership of Egypt’s largest mobile carrier, Mobinil, has escalated with shareholder Orascom Telecom resorting to legal action to thwart France Telecom’s takeover bid.
Mobinil's two largest shareholders, France Telecom (71.25%) and Orascom Telecom (28.75%), have been batting it out for control of the mobile company for months via the Egyptian regulator, but Orascom has been forced to take it to the courts after failing to get its way.
The Egyptian Financial Services Authority said on Sunday that it had upheld its earlier decision approving an offer by Orange Participations to buy Orascom Telecom's shares in the Mobinil for 245 Egyptian pounds (€31.76) per share. The decision followed an appeal launched by Orsacom in December to the regulator to over-rule France Telecom’s offer.
Late yesterday Orascom released a statement revealing that it intends to file a case before the Administrative Court (Investment Division) to challenge the decision and request its annulment and seek injunctive relief to stay the decision prior to the expiry of the purchase offer period and shall continue amicable negotiations with France Telecom. The purchase offer period ends on January 14.
France Telecom won an arbitration ruling in April requiring Orascom Telecom to sell its stake in the Mobinil holding company to the French company.
Prior to the Egyptian regulators approval of France Telecom's latest offer, the French carrier had made three separate bids to buy the shares, all of which the regulator rejected. France Telecom's previous offers were EGP187, EGP237 and EGP230 a share.