Thirteen telecoms operators from Europe and the Middle East have until 31 January 2006 to place a bid for a 35% stake in Tunisia’s national operator Tunisie Télécom. The bids were originally expected to have been submitted by December, but the deadline has been extended. Interested parties include France’s Vivendi Universal and France Télécom, Telefónica of Spain and Emirati operator Etisalat, which were the first companies to pre-qualify as potential bidders earlier this month. Other participants include Telecom Italia, Portugal Telecom, Bouygues Télécom, Batelco, MTN Group, MTC of Kuwait, Saudi Oger Telecom, Saudi Telecom, and a UAE-led consortium of Tecom, a Dubai-based IT group and the Dubai Investment Group. The sale is expected to generate around USD1.7 billion.