France Telecom is understood to have won the race to acquire a controlling stake in Ghana’s national PTO Ghana Telecom (GT), according to local press reports. A source at the Ministry of Communications yesterday leaked the news that the French company’s business and expansion plan has won the approval of the two firms appointed to advise on the sale – Ecobank Development Corporation (EDC) and Societe Generale – which have apparently given the green light to the Paris-based company. It is believed that FT is offering about USD600 million for the equity stake of between 51% and 61% whichis up for grabs. This is above the USD500 million rating GT carried, paving the way for the French company to own 61% of GT. Reports also say that FT’s bid has also passed muster with the Inter-Ministerial Committee comprising officials from the Office of the President, Ministries of Communications and Finance, and the Ghana Investment and Promotion Council (GIPC).
FT, along with Vodacom of South Africa, Portugal Telecom (PT), SingTel and two others, have been conducting due diligence on the Ghanaian telco for the last couple of weeks. The French heavyweight was short-listed along with Vodacom and PT for the final phase. Vodacom’s bid is believed to have impressed the sale advisers but they plumped for FT, which tendered a far higher offer. It is the second recent success for FT in Africa; only last week it won the bid to acquire a 51% stake in Telkom Kenya.