UPDATE 1-RLPC-Etisalat in talks over $8 bln loan for Maroc Telecom bid

Fri Feb 15, 2013 2:18pm EST

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By Michelle Meineke and Tessa Walsh

LONDON Feb 15 (Reuters) - Abu Dhabi telecom firm Etisalat is talking to banks about a syndicated loan of up to $8 billion to finance a bid for Vivendi's 53 percent stake in Maroc Telecom, banking sources said on Friday.

An $8 billion acquisition loan would be the largest Gulf merger and acquisition loan in six years.

Etisalat has asked banks to bid for the roles of M&A and financing advisor, one banker said.

French media and telecoms group Vivendi is under pressure from shareholders to bolster its flagging share price and reduce its debt, which stands at 15.7 billion euros.

Etisalat was not immediately available for comment.

The sale has attracted interest from other bidders that are also lining up financing.

Qatar's QTel is talking to its relationship banks, including JP Morgan, about financing for a possible bid for Maroc Telecom, bankers said. JP Morgan could easily underwrite an acquisition loan, alone or with the support of one or two banks, they said.

South Korean telecoms company KT Corp has lined up Citigroup, Credit Suisse, and Societe Generale to advise and finance a potential acquisition if its bid is successful.

(Editing by Jane Merriman and Bernadette Baum)