Bloomberg News

Egypt Seeks Explanations on Orascom-France Telecom Deal

February 14, 2012

(Updates regulator’s statement in third paragraph.)

Feb. 14 (Bloomberg) -- Orascom Telecom Media & Technology Holding SAE should explain to Mobinil shareholders why it may sell part of its stake to France Telecom SA after rejecting a higher bid in 2009, Egypt’s markets regulator said.

France Telecom said yesterday it reached a preliminary agreement to buy most of Orascom Telecom Media’s stake in their Mobinil venture at 202.5 Egyptian pounds ($33.56) a share. The same offer will be made to minority investors in the Egyptian Co. for Mobile Services, also known as Mobinil. That’s 42.5 pounds less than an offer by France Telecom in 2009 that Orascom Telecom Holding SAE, headed by billionaire Naguib Sawiris, blocked in court.

Orascom Telecom Media should explain the agreement with France Telecom to its shareholders and those of Mobinil, the Cairo-based Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority said in a statement on its website today. France Telecom made the 2009 bid before Sawiris spun off Orascom Telecom Media from Orascom Telecom Holding.

France Telecom owns about 71 percent of Mobinil Telecom Co., which controls Mobinil, and Orascom Telecom Media owns the rest. Orascom Telecom Media also holds a 20 percent direct stake in Mobinil, while about 29 percent is traded on the Egyptian Exchange. The shares jumped 10 percent today to 151.67 pounds, valuing the company at 15.2 billion Egyptian pounds.

Sawiris opposed France Telecom’s 2009 bid because he said it offered minority shareholders in Mobinil less than the 273 pound price tag set by an international arbitration court for his stake in Mobinil Telecom, the holding company.

Mobinil must appoint an independent adviser to assess France Telecom’s latest bid, the regulator said today.

--Editors: Shaji Mathew, Kim McLaughlin

To contact the reporter on this story: Alaa Shahine in Dubai at asalha@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Maedler at cmaedler@bloomberg.net


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