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Abu Dhabi’s Etisalat in talks over $8-billion bid for Maroc

Al Bahar Towers are seen in Abu Dhabi in a file photo. An $8-billion acquisition loan would be the largest Gulf merger and acquisition loan in six years.

STRINGER/REUTERS

Abu Dhabi telecom firm Etisalat UAE is talking to banks about a syndicated loan of up to $8-billion (U.S.) to finance a bid for Vivendi SA's 53-per-cent stake in Maroc Telecom, banking sources said on Friday.

An $8-billion acquisition loan would be the largest Gulf merger and acquisition loan in six years.

Etisalat has asked banks to bid for the roles of M&A and financing adviser, one banker said.

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French media and telecoms group Vivendi is under pressure from shareholders to bolster its flagging share price and reduce its debt, which stands at €15.7-billion ($21-billion U.S.).

Etisalat was not immediately available for comment.

The sale has attracted interest from other bidders that are also lining up financing.

Qatar's QTel is talking to its relationship banks, including JPMorgan Chase & Co., about financing for a possible bid for Maroc Telecom, bankers said. JPMorgan could easily underwrite an acquisition loan, alone or with the support of one or two banks, they said.

South Korean telecoms company KT Corp. has lined up Citigroup Inc., Credit Suisse Group, and Société Générale SA to advise and finance a potential acquisition if its bid is successful.

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