Vivendi (VIVEF) sells its 53% stake in Maroc Telecom (MAOTF) to UAE's Etisalat for €4.2B ($5.7B) in cash. The companies intend to close the deal by the beginning of 2014.
Negotiations began in April, with Etisalat becoming the only potential buyer after Qatar's Ooredoo withdrew from bidding in June. The Moroccan state holds a 30% stake in Etisalat and wanted to ensure that the new owner would invest in mobile infrastructure.
The divestment builds on an overarching strategy of Vivendi to focus on its media and content businesses.
African mobile subscriptions (863M as of Q2) are set to expand at a 6.6% CAGR to 1.25B by 2018, according to ABI Research.
Due to "lower comparative 3G penetration of 13.8%," 3G subscriptions are forecast to grow from 114M in 2013 to 210M in 2015. By 2018, the continent is expected to have 51.2M LTE subscriptions, up from a mere 200K in Q2 and representing a CAGR of 118%.
Major African carriers such as Vodafone (VOD), VimpelCom (VIP), MTN Group (MTNOY.PK), Telkom SA (TLKGY.PK), Orascom (ORSTF.PK), and Maroc (MAOTF.PK) stand to benefit from the growth, which easily surpasses that seen in most developed markets.
As expected, Vivendi (VIVHY.PK) has entered talks to sell its 53% holding in Maroc Telecom (MAOTF.PK) to Abu Dhabi based Etisalat for €4.2B in cash. Vivendi hopes to complete the negotiations by the end of 2013, while it's also talking with a Moroccan consortium about investing in the company. A sale would be the first step in Vivendi's strategy to focus on its media operations as it reportedly explores how to generate cash from its Activision Blizzard video-games unit.
Vivendi (VIVEF.PK) is reportedly expected to discuss plans at a board meeting today for Activision Blizzard (ATVI) to pay a special dividend of over $3B. With a 60% holding in the video-games company, Vivendi would receive $2B, although Activision would have to raise debt to pay for the dividend. Vivendi's directors will also talk about a sale of its controlling stake in in North African phone operator Maroc Telecom (MAOTF.PK) for about $5.5B plus debt to Emirates Telecom. The money will allow Vivendi to reduce its €13.19B debt and could presage a spin-off of its SFR French phone operator subsidiary.