France Telecom finalizes deal to buy Egyptian mobile operator Mobinil for $2 billion

Telecom Lead Europe: France Telecom has finalized a deal
to buy most of its partner’s stake in Egyptian mobile operator Mobinil for $2

France Telecom will have 95 percent of Egypt’s largest
mobile operator if all the minority shareholders accept, while Sawiris would
keep 5 percent. The Egyptian side will retain six of 13 seats on the board and
the same voting rights as before.

France Telecom is already the biggest shareholder in
Mobinil, and Egypt is a key part of its effort to expand in high-growth
emerging markets in Africa and the Middle East.

Egyptian tycoon Naguib Sawiris will sell much of his
stake, and minority shareholders of listed holding company ECMS can choose to
keep their shares or accept a tender offer from France Telecom.

France Telecom will buy most of the stake held by
Sawiris’ holding company Orascom Telecom Media and Technology Holding (OTMT)
for $33.54 per share.

It will then make a tender offer at the same price to the
minority shareholders of ECMS, the listed portion of Mobinil which was trading
at 179.5 pounds on Thursday, below the tender price.

The chairman of financial market regulator EFSA, Ashraf
el-Sharqawy, said the watchdog would give its response next week.

Though Sawiris is reducing his stake, the French company
would continue to work with his holding company OTMT.

“We believe this transaction provides a solid basis
for our continued partnership with OTMT in ECMS. France Telecom intends to
ensure that, if the conditions allow it, up to 15 percent of ECMS’ shares are
held by Egyptian shareholders, whether these are private or public companies,
or individual shareholders,” said France Telecom Chief Executive Stephane

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