Orascom opts out of fourth licence bid

13 Oct 2009

Egypt’s Orascom Telecom (OT) has announced its decision not to participate in the forthcoming sale of France’s fourth and final 3G mobile licence, Reuters reports. In an emailed statement, a spokeswoman for the firm confirmed: ‘It was announced today in our analyst day that OT/Weather will not be bidding,’ referring to Orascom’s parent company Weather Investments, both of which are owned and operated by Egyptian businessman Naguib Sawiris. No reason for the decision was given.

Earlier this month unconfirmed press reports claimed that Orascom Telecom was seeking to buy into the Numericable-Virgin Mobile consortium that is reportedly vying for endorsement for the fourth 3G licence. At the time the French journal Challenge wrote that following ‘fruitless talks’ with Iliad (Free) and Bollore Telecom over a possible tie-up, Sawiris was looking elsewhere in his bid to gain entry into the mature French mobile market. Orascom Telecom was linked with a possible takeover of another French cellco, Bouygues Telecom, in 2007.