Etisalat poised for $8bn Maroc M&A loan
Debt financing will pave way for move on Vivendi’s 53% stake in Moroccan telco
The UAE's number-one telco Etisalat is in the process of securing a syndicated loan for as much as $8bn to fund a move for Vivendi's 53% stake in Maroc Telecom, banking sources told Reuters.
The debt agreement would represent the largest M&A financing deal in the Gulf region in six years.
Etisalat confirmed its interest in the controlling share of the Morocco operator last month, amid reported moves from other parties such as Qtel and South Korea's KT Corp. At the time, Arabian Business reported that Vivendi hoped to raise at least EUR5.5bn ($7.13bn) through the sale.
Vivendi has racked up a debt of EUR15.7bn, leading to pressure from ratings agencies and a slide in stock value. Maroc is the French conglomerate's second largest business unit, but despite the telecom operator's position as the largest company on the Moroccan exchange by market capitalisation, it faces increasing competition in its domestic market, which has led to slowed growth in recent years.
Insiders have said that Vivendi has put no deadline on the sale but hopes the transaction will be complete by the end of Q1. The Moroccan government, which owns a 30% stake in Maroc, would have to approve any acquisition.