KT Corp has reportedly decided not to bid for the controlling stake in Morocco’s Maroc Telecom currently held by French media conglomerate Vivendi.
The operator had been in talks about an acquisition that would have represented the largest-ever overseas deal by a South Korean company.
According to Dow Jones Newswires, however, it has dropped its bid but will continue to pursue other options for investing in the North African operator.
“KT [Seoul, South Korea] decided not to submit a bid for Maroc Telecom [Rabat, Morocco],” the company reportedly said in a filing to the Korea Exchange. “Still, we can consider investing [in Maroc] through various angles, such as business cooperation.”
Citing a company spokesperson, the Wall Street Journal reports that KT Corp abandoned its takeover efforts out of concern about what it would have to pay.
“We found a gap between the price that Maroc traded in the market and the one we viewed as appropriate,” he is quoted as saying.
In late February, Vivendi’s (Paris, France) 53% stake in Maroc Telecom was reportedly valued at about $7.2 billion.
For 2012, Maroc Telecom reported revenues of €2.69 billion ($3.52 billion), 1.8% less than in 2011, while earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortization were roughly flat at €1.5 billion.
KT Corp expressed interest in buying the stake late in 2012 after attempts to purchase a 20% stake in South Africa’s Telkom were blocked by the country’s authorities.
The maturity of its domestic market is forcing KT Corp to look overseas for growth opportunities.
Meanwhile, Vivendi is keen to divest itself of telecoms assets and focus on its core media interests.
Besides KT Corp, Etisalat (Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates), France Telecom (Paris, France) and Qatar Telecom (Doha, Qatar) had all expressed interest in Maroc Telecom last year.