14 Sep 2007
Vivendi has confirmed in a statement that it has entered talks with Oger Telecom that could lead to the French media and communications group buying a stake in the UAE-based holding company. Oger controls Turkey’s Turk Telekom and its mobile subsidiary Avea, as well as South African cellco Cell C and Cyberia, an internet service provider in Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Jordan. Oger Telecom is a subsidiary of Saudi Oger, a Saudi Arabian conglomerate which is controlled by the family of the late Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri. Financial sources told French daily Les Echos that Vivendi is seeking a 30%-35% stake in the company, with a view to upping its interest to a majority holding in the future. Vivendi has controlling stakes in SFR, France’s second largest mobile operator, and Moroccan incumbent Maroc Telecom. Jean-Bernard Levy, Vivendi’s CEO, said: ‘We have repeatedly said we were looking for investments in fast-growing economies in the telecoms area.’ Saudi Oger planned to float Oger Telecom’s shares on the London and Dubai stock exchanges late last year, but pulled out due to a lower than desired valuation.