French media group Vivendi SA (EPA:VIV) is reportedly looking at the possibility of divesting its holding in Morocco-based telecom company Maroc Telecom (EPA:IAM), the Financial Times said on Monday, citing sources in the know.
The French company has started talks with bankers from Lazard Ltd (NYSE:LAZ) and Credit Agricole SA (EPA:ACA) with a view to appointing them as advisors for the proposed divestment. The sale of the 53% stake could result in EUR4bn (USD5.2bn) in proceeds for Vivendi, the sources said. The sale of the business is expected to spark the interest of regional operators such as Emirates Telecommunications (Etisalat) and Qatar Telecom (Qtel).
The disposal follows a review of Vivendi’s structure that was prompted by a notable slump in its stock price earlier in 2012 and the departure of CEO Jean-Bernard Levy over strategy disputes with management board members.
Maroc Telecom, Morocco’s top telecom operator, is the second-largest contributor to Vivendi’s earnings. The division keeps expanding its operations overseas, while its domestic business recently encountered difficulties brought on by the market’s increasing maturity.
Vivendi has meanwhile hired Deutsche Bank (ETR:DBK) and Rothschild to help with the sale of another telecom unit, Brazilian landline operator GVT. The French company’s music division Universal Music Group Inc (UMG) bought EMI Group’s recorded music division in late September, meaning that the structure overhaul will not affect this business, despite the pending sale of its Parlophone label under the requirements of the European Commission.