Ooredoo withdraws from Maroc Telecom bidding race

By Marc Castro

Jun 14, 2013 12:45 PM EDT

Ooredoo, the Qatari backed telecommunications firm, has formally withdrawn from the race to bid for the 53% share of Vivendi in Maroc Telecom. With the decision, Etisalat, Ooredoo's main competitor in the Gulf region, would remain as the sole bidder for the stake.

The sale of the Moroccan fixed and mobile telecommunications operator is central to the completion of the strategic revamp of Vivendi. The plan is to refocus its business interests into media and away from telecommunications.

According to two sources knowledgeable with the negotiations, the discussions between Vivendi and Etisalat are 'advancing well'. One of the anonymous sources added, "A final announcement could be made in the comong weeks as Etisalat has agreed to remove some legal conditions that were hampering the bid."

The decision according to Ooredoo's Chief Strategy Officer, Jeremy Sell, "The two reasons we pulled out were valuation and frustration with the process." The withdrawal ends the battle between the two telecommunications firms for a prized asset that would certainly expand their operations well into north and sub-Saharan Africa.

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