PARIS/LONDON May 24 Gulf telecom operator
Etisalat has offered a higher price for Vivendi's
Maroc Telecom stake than rival Qatari bidder Ooredoo
, according to two people familiar with the matter.
Etisalat's bid needs further work, however, and has more
legal conditions than Ooredoo's offer, so Vivendi has not yet
made a final choice, the people said.
"If Etisalat cleans up its offer, then it wins," said one of
the sources, who is close to the process. "If not, it will go to
Qatar, who also made an offer that Vivendi can accept."
While the exact prices of the offers were not clear, sources
earlier told Reuters that they had come in lower than the 5
billion euros ($6.5 billion) Vivendi had initially hoped for and
closer to the market value of the stake.
Vivendi's 53 percent shareholding in Maroc Telecom is now
worth 4.34 billion euros.
Vivendi has been in talks in recent weeks with Etisalat to
remove some of the legal clauses, the people said. The
UAE-backed group has scheduled an extraordinary shareholder
meeting on May 28 to approve the financing package for its bid.
Ooredoo, meanwhile, crafted its offer with minimal
conditions to make it simple and less risky for Vivendi, the
group's strategy chief told Reuters earlier.
Vivendi has not asked Ooredoo to improve its offer so far,
the first source said.
Spokesmen for Vivendi, Etisalat and Ooredoo declined to
comment on Friday.
Maroc Telecom offers fixed-line, mobile and Internet
services in the kingdom and is one of Africa's top telecom
firms, with units in Burkina Faso, Gabon, Mali and Mauritania.
($1 = 0.7751 euros)
(Additional reporting by Christian Plumb in Paris and Dinesh
Nair in Dubai; Editing by James Regan)