France Telecom to acquire Méditel stake

French incumbent signs deal to acquire 40% stake in Médi Télécom

Tags: FranceFrance Telecom-Orange groupMedi TelecomMergers and acquisitionsMorocco
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France Telecom to acquire Méditel stake Stéphane Richard has big ambitions for expansion in Africa. (Getty Images)
By  Roger Field Published  September 22, 2010

France Telecom has agreed to acquire a 40% stake in Médi Télécom, Morocco's second largest telecoms operator, for EUR 640 million ($851.8 million) from its owners CDG Group and FinanceCom.

The deal is the first move by France Telecom to expand its presence in Africa since the appointment of Stéphane Richard as CEO in March.

Shortly after becoming CEO, Richard said the group could invest as much as US$9.3 billion over the next five years in the region.

Médi Télécom, which started operations in Morocco in 1999, has licences for fixed, mobile and 3G services. The company has more than 10 million mobile subscribers and a market share of about 37%.

France Telecom plans to use its experience to develop Médi Télécom's mobile, data and enterprise business.

"The acquisition of this stake in Médi Télécom is the first concrete step in our new policy of expansion outside Europe, and contributes to our stated aim of doubling our revenues in Africa and the Middle-East over the next five years," Richard said.

Othman Benjelloun,  president of the FinanceCom Group, and Anass Houir Alami, CEO of CDG, said in a joint statement that the partnership would strengthen the position of Médi Télécom in Morocco and "provide it with a platform for opening out across the Maghreb region and Africa".

CDG, FinanceCom and France Telecom have agreed to float Médi Télécom on the Casablanca stock exchange in the "short to medium" term.

The signing of the final documents and the closing of the transaction is expected to take place by the end of 2010. The final closing of the agreement remains conditional to the approval of the Moroccan regulatory body, ANRT.  

France Telecom has a presence in 14 countries in Africa, and also has a 51% stake in Jordan Telecom Group, which in 2007 adopted the Orange brand for its fixed, mobile, internet and content services in Jordan.

The French incumbent also signed a deal to manage ETC, Ethiopia's incumbent operator, in March, giving it a strong foothold in Africa's last telecom monopoly.

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