Vivendi (Paris, France) is considering a sale of its controlling stake in Morocco’s largest telecoms operator, according to the Financial Times.
The French media conglomerate has reportedly hired Lazard and Crédit Agricole banks to look into the sale of its 53% stake in Maroc Telecom (Rabat, Morocco).
Such a divestment could raise as much as €4 billion for Vivendi, according to financiers cited by the FT.
Maroc Telecom is Vivendi’s biggest earner apart from French telecoms operator SFR (Paris, France) and could attract interest from regional players like Etisalat (Abu Dhabi, UAE) and Qtel (Doha, Qatar).
The latter this week raised its stake in Kuwaiti operator Wataniya (Kuwait City) and could be interested in expanding its presence in North Africa. With operations in Algeria and Iraq, Qtel is also used to operating in difficult environments.
Vivendi has been struggling since the resignation earlier this year of chief executive Jean-Bernard Lévy, who quit after falling out with the board over the company’s future strategy.
It has already hired Deutsche Bank and Rothschild to find a buyer for GVT, a fixed-line operator it owns in Brazil, and Spain’s Telefónica (Madrid) has been linked with a possible acquisition.
Citing industry sources, the FT reports that Vivendi has also received expressions of interest in a purchase of SFR.
Others have greeted such reports with scepticism given current conditions in the French mobile-phone market, where a new low-cost service from Iliad is putting huge pressure on the country’s incumbents.