South African operator MTN is believed to be vying for a 53% stake in Maroc Telecom, currently held by France-based Vivendi S.A.
MTN is believed to be in talks with several banks to raise funding for the deal, believed to be worth $6 billion, according to UK based news provider TMT Finance, who cited three sources.
The preliminary bid deadline for the deal is set for 22 April.
MTN, however, said it would not be drawn into speculation. “In line with internal corporate governance, as well as JSE requirements, MTN does not comment on market speculation,” said Nik Kershaw, executive, investor relations, MTN Group.
Last week, MTN boss Sifiso Dabengwa told Reuters that the group could spend up to $8 billion on an acquisition and is looking for targets on the continent, the Middle East and Southeast Asia.
“Growth through M&A is still an important part of our strategy,” he said. “Anything between $4 and $8 billion is something that we could look at.”
“It’s still unclear at this stage if MTN will launch a bid for Maroc, but there has certainly been a lot of activity behind the scenes,” a banker told TMT Finance. “Although it would be extremely late to the table, the financing will be there if it decides to go for it,” he said.
“There’s more money than good deals around at the moment, so there shouldn’t be any problem financing a bid – and strategically it makes a lot of sense for MTN.”
Korea Telecom (KT Corp) on Monday (14 April) dropped its bid for Viviendi, S.A, citing the price of the potential deal.
Bloomberg noted that Vivendi’s stake has also attracted interest from Middle Eastern carriers, Emirates Telecommunications and Qatar Telecom.