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Vivendi puts an end to Zain Africa talks

French media firms says it is “interrupting talks” to acquire majority stake

Mergers and acquisitions, Operators, Telecoms, IT Business, Zain - Kuwait

French media giant Vivendi today announced that talks with regional telecom behemoth Zain to take a controlling stake in the company’s African arm for a reported US$11 million have been suspended.

In a statement released earlier today, Vivendi said it is “interrupting talks, started some weeks ago, with the Kuwaiti Group Zain, to acquire a majority stake in its African telecommunications activities”.

The statement continued: “Vivendi has applied its usual criteria of profitability and financial discipline to this potential investment in emerging markets, in the best interests of its shareholders”.

Two weeks ago Vivendi confirmed its interest in acquiring a majority stake in Zain Group Africa, in keeping with what it described as a defined strategy of seeking growth opportunities in emerging countries.

The French firm said the acquisition would it to capitalise on its successful experience of developing mobile telephony in Africa, where it already has a controlling stake in Morocco’s Maroc Telecom.

In a separate statement confirming that the operator was open to offers for some of its Africa-based operators, Zain said: “The strategic review process may result in the sale of Zain’s operations in Africa excluding Morocco and Sudan. Several parties have already expressed their interest in acquiring Zain’s African assets (excluding Morocco and Sudan) and the board of directors of Zain has, therefore, decided to give these parties access to information as part of a process to allow them to formulate proposals.”

A spokesman for Zain said that further announcements will be made in due course.