The proposed buyout of Maltese fixed and mobile operator GO by Tunisie Telecom (TT) of Tunisia is under scrutiny from regulators over a possible conflict of interest. A report from the Times of Malta says that watchdogs in both Malta and Tunisia are now studying the deal, which one has said ‘smells odd’. GO is currently 60%-owned by Dubai-based investment company Emirates International Telecommunications (EIT), while EIT is also a 35% shareholder in TT. The Tunisian firm is offering to acquire EIT’s 60% stake in GO for EUR174 million and is offering EUR2.87 per share to acquire the interests of the GO’s minority shareholders.
For its part, EIT says there is no conflict of interest and that the deal would be a good tie-up for both TT and GO in terms of boosting their presence in the Mediterranean. An EIT spokesperson is quoted as saying: ‘From the very beginning, when TT started considering the possibility of making a bid for GO’s entire issued share capital, EIT, in line with its obligations under Tunisian law, abstained from participating and voting in all TT board and shareholder meetings on all matters concerning the project. The sale process, which was followed by GO, was a totally open and transparent public auction process and GO published regular company announcements throughout.’