France Telecom offers US$2 billion for Mobinil

France_Telecom_MobinilFrance Telecom has offered to buy a majority stake in Egyptian telecoms operator Mobinil.France Telecom has offered to buy a majority stake in Egyptian telecom operator Mobinil from billionaire Naguib Sawiris in a deal that could cost as much as US$2 billion.

France Telecom owns about 71 per cent of Mobinil, which in turn owns just more than 50 per cent in  Egyptian Company for Mobile Services (ECMS), which operates the brand. Mr Sawiris owns the remainder of Mobinil and a fifth of ECMS alongside other minority shareholders.

Local partner and manager

France Telecom and Mr Sawiris' Orascom Telecom Media & Technology (OTMT) have signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding regarding their interests in Mobinil and ECMS.

France Telecom wants to raise its stake to 95 per cent of Mobinil and delist ECMS, leaving 5 per cent of Mobinil in the hands of Sawiris to act as the local partner in Egypt.

OTMT would remain as manager of the business and would retain a similar number of board seats and similar voting rights to the existing 30 per cent on Mobinil's board.

Mobinil share valued at US$33.54 

The Mobinil shares France Telecom aims to take over are valued at US$2 billion based on the offer price of US$33.54 a share. France Telecom will offer the same price for Mobinil shares traded on the Cairo exchange.

Orange would be the new name

If the public tender succeeds, Mobinil will be delisted and France Telecom could change the name of the business to Orange in line with its global mobile operations.

Focus on high-growth markets

Mobinil business fits with France Telecom's strategy to focus on high-growth emerging markets in Africa and the Middle East. It has recently sold out of lower growth markets such as Switzerland and Austria, and is looking to exit Portugal, as part of the strategy.

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