Orange is mulling the acquisition of further operations owned by Millicom International Cellular in Africa and has started informal talks with the company, Bloomberg reported.
Although Orange has not confirmed the report, the France-based operator has previously indicated it wants to expand its asset base across Africa and has already acquired Millicom's Tigo business in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) for $160 million (€143 million). Citing unnamed sources, Bloomberg said the company is now considering buying Millicom's operations in Senegal, Ghana and Chad.
The news agency said the sources also indicated that Orange is looking for new opportunities in East Africa. It agreed to sell its 70 per cent stake in Telkom Kenya to Helios Investments in November.
Bloomberg noted that Millicom has not performed well in Africa for several years and is also under growing pressure from regulators to expand its services from urban to more rural areas.
Orange, meanwhile, has continued to emphasise that Africa is a strategic priority for the group. In January, it unveiled plans to acquire three mobile operators in West Africa: Cellcom Liberia and Airtel's operations in Burkina Faso and Sierra Leone. It completed the acquisition of Cellcom Liberia in April.
Once the latest transactions have been completed, Orange will be present in 20 countries on the African continent and 22 in Africa and the Middle East, which it refers to as the AMEA region.
Furthermore, following the collapse of talks over a potential takeover of Bouygues Telecom, Orange signalled its intentions to pursue deals in markets outside of France. It has already announced plans to acquire a €75 million ($83 million) equity interest in Africa Internet Group, which operates the Jumia e-commerce platform among other online consumer web sites.
In its results for 2015, Orange said the total number of mobile subscribers in Africa and the Middle East increased by 4.1 per cent year-on-year on a comparable basis to 110 million.
- see the Bloomberg article
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