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Investcom reported to be in pole position for Millicom

The deadline for a second round of bids for Millicom is expected to close shortly, with Egypt’s Orascom, Investcom, Kuwait’s MTC, Telenor and Mexico’s America Movil all believed to remain interested in acquiring the operator.

Dubai-listed mobile operator Investcom has been linked to the acquisition of Luxembourg-based Millicom International Cellular, which earlier this year announced it was undertaking a review of strategic options for the company and had appointed Morgan Stanley as financial advisor. This followed the receipt of what Millicom described as "a high number" of unsolicited approaches.

Up to 10 companies were later reported to have expressed an interest in acquiring Millicom, with Investcom now reported to have outbid rival bidder China Mobile, having placed a US$5 billion bid for the group. China Mobile had been reported as the early leader having bid US$4 billion for Millicom.

Millicom had a market value of around US$2.8 billion at the beginning of the year, and reported revenues of US$261 million for the three months to end-September 2005 - up 11% year on year, and EBITDA of US$110.8 million for the same period - down 6% year on year. As of end-September 2005, MIC reported a proportionate worldwide subscriber base of 6.4 million. The operator now has approximately nine million subscribers in 16 countries across Latin America, Asia and Africa.

The deadline for a second round of bids for Millicom is expected to close shortly, with Egypt’s Orascom, Investcom, Kuwait’s MTC, Telenor and Mexico’s America Movil all believed to remain interested in acquiring the operator.

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