Following over a month of discussions, France Telecom has acquired 93.9 percent of Egyptian mobile operator Mobinil in a tender offer of 1.5bn euros, according to the Egyptian stock market last Sunday (May 27). With this move, France Telecom has taken control of one of the leading companies in the industry in a volatile but lucrative emerging market.
Mobinil, founded by Egyptian businessman Naguib Sawiris, and Vodafone Egypt fight for control of the local mobile market, buffeted by political events after the uprising to overthrow President Hosni Mubarak last year.
France Telecom bought the majority shares of Mobinil that it didn’t own yet from local partner, Sawiris's Orascom Telecom Media and Technology (OTMT). However, Sawiris will keep shares equivalent to 5 percent of the capital and 28.75 percent of voting interest.
The French group was already the largest shareholder of Mobinil Egypt and is an important part of Mobinil's efforts to expand in fast-growing markets such as Africa and the Middle East. Egypt already sums up to half of France Telecom’s business in MENA.
Egypt is the most populous country in the Arab world, with over 80 million people. The mobile subscriptions grew 25 percent to 91.1 million in Q1 2012, government data showed, defying the economic dramatically downturn after the overthrow of Mubarak.
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