May 7 2014, 3:56pm CDT | by Forbes
Etisalat, the largest mobile phone company in the United Arab Emirates, has agreed to sell a significant portion of its West African operations to Maroc Telecom, Morocco’s largest telecoms operator, for $650 million.
Last November, French media giant Vivendi announced plans to sell its 53% controlling stake in Maroc Telecoms to Etisalat for $5.7 billion in a landmark transaction expected to be completed by the end of May. By acquiring Etisalat’s operations in 6 West African countries, Maroc Telecom plans to merge the two companies before its eventual sale to Vivendi S.A.
According to a press statement issued by Maroc Telecom on Monday, the $650 million deal will involve the sale of Atlantique Telecom, Etisalat’s wholly-owned subsidiary, which has mobile voice and data operations in Benin, Central African Republic, Gabon, Ivory Coast, Niger and Togo. The deal will not include Etisalat’s operations in Nigeria in which Nigerian multi-millionaire businessman Hakeem Belo-Osagie is a major shareholder and Chairman.
By acquiring Etisalat’s West African assets, Maroc Telecom will become the dominant mobile phone company in French-speaking Africa, with more than 30 million subscribers combined, a dream fulfilled for Maroc Telecom’s CEO, Abdeslam Ahizoune, who has never hidden his desire to build the largest mobile telecoms operator in French-speaking Africa. Ahizoune, who has been at Maroc Telecom’s helm for the past 13 years, aggressively spearheaded the company’s entry into other Francophone-speaking African countries by acquiring controlling stakes in mobile telecom operators in Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Gabon and Mali.
The deal is subject to the completion of the Maroc Telecom acquisition.
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