Having earlier this month pushed back a final decision on whether to block regulatory approval of a bid by France Telecom (FT) for the remaining shares in Egyptian Company for Mobile Services (MobiNil) it does not own to 27 March, an Egyptian court has once more postponed its verdict. According to Reuters the court has announced that its final ruling will now not be made until 10 April, with Judge Hamdy Yassin noting: ‘We confirm that this case had a special defence and the court records its appreciation to the effort offered from all parties in this case.’ This now marks the third time a final decision on the matter has been delayed.
The court had issued an initial ruling in December 2009, finding in favour of MobiNil’s other major shareholder, Orascom Telecom, and effectively blocking a share offer that would have seen FT spend around USD2.9 billion on taking full control of the cellco. As previously reported by CommsUpdate, the French company had an offer accepted by the Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority (EFSA) in early December at EGP245 (USD44.87) per share, having had three previous offers rejected. Orascom however sought to block the sale through an appeals committee, but it request to block the sale was it turned to the courts. The Egyptian telecoms group has continued to argue that FT should have offered EGP273 per share, equivalent to a price set by an arbitration court in April 2009 for the MobiNil shares Orascom held through a holding company.