Vivendi closes Maroc Telecom sale to Etisalat

PARIS (The Deal) -- The ambition of France's Vivendi to become a pure-play media group edged closer to realization with announcements that it had completed a 4.14 billion euro ($5.7 billion) sale of its majority stake in Maroc Telecom and that a 17 billion euro deal for its French mobile operation was on target to complete by year-end.

Vivendi said Wednesday, May 14, it had completed the sale of 53% of Maroc Telecom to to Abu Dhabi-listed Emirates Telecommunications Corp., known as Etisalat, noting that adjustments meant that the deal closed under the 4.2 billion euro price announced in November.

"A new chapter is being written today by Vivendi as we aim to grow in media and content," Vivendi Chairman Jean-Rene Fourtou said in a statement.

The finalization of the Maroc Telecom deal came a day after Numericable SA said that it was on track to complete the acquisition of Vivendi's Societe Francaise de Radiotelephone SA by the end of the year. Numericable, and its backer Altice SA, agreed last month to buy SFR, seeing off competition from a consortium led by Bouygues SA and fending off opposition from the French government.

Numericable is in talks with competition authorities and expects to receive approval for the acquisition in the third or fourth quarter of this year. "It's too early to say whether they'll respond in October or at year-end," Numericable COO Jerome Yomtov told a conference call on Tuesday.

Vivendi said in April that the sale of SFR would result in a payment of 13.5 billion euros in cash, a potential 750 million euros in performance-related payments and leave it with a 20% stake in a merged SFR and Numericable.

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