Qtel picks JP Morgan to advise on Maroc Tel bid-sources

DUBAI Thu Dec 6, 2012 1:32pm EST

DUBAI Dec 6 (Reuters) - Gulf telecom operator Qtel has hired J.P. Morgan Chase to advise it on a potential bid for Vivendi's Maroc Telecom, said four people familiar with the matter.

Vivendi aims to garner at least 5.5 billion euros ($7.14 billion) for its 53 percent stake in Morocco's biggest fixed and mobile operator, and has received initial expressions of interest from four carriers, sources told Reuters in October.

The French conglomerate is exploring selling several assets as part of an ongoing strategy review intended to pay down debt, boost a flagging share price and reduce the group's exposure to capital-intensive telecom businesses.

In addition to the J.P. Morgan mandate, Qtel also picked six banks on Thursday to set up a bond issuance in U.S. dollars.

Bankers are also pitching the operator to set up bridge financing to back a bid for Maroc Telecom, the sources said.

A spokesman for J.P. Morgan declined to comment. Qtel could not immediately be reached for comment. ($1 = 0.7700 euros) (Reporting by Dinesh Nair; Editing by Leila Abboud)

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