Telecom M&As in Mena area may hit $30bn

Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) in the Middle East and North African (Mena) telecom sector have the potential to reach $30bn this year.
“There is a range of telecom assets worth up to $30bn being considered for sale in the Mena region and plenty of aggressive buyers from the Gulf and Asia with the appetite and the capital to make the deals happen,” said Dominic Lowndes, the editor of Telecom Deal Alert, the organiser of TMT Finance Middle East, which begins on April 26.
The sale of Zain Africa, currently expected to reach $9bn, would serve as a catalyst to further deal flow, if it completes, according to him. Zain has been preoccupying many of the major acquirers in the market due to its significant, high quality portfolio of African telecom assets.
As the deal progresses with Bharti, the other potentially interested acquirers are moving towards other targets and active buyers include Etisalat, China Mobile, Essar, Reliance, France Telecom, Qatar Telecom, Batelco, Singtel and STC.
“After a relatively quiet period for MENA telecom M&As in 2009, significant parts of the financing and advisory community are becoming more optimistic about the prospects for 2010,” he said.

Divestiture of infrastructure assets would dominate with a handful of the Middle East and Asian telecom companies continuing to lead consolidation, he said.

-- Gulf Times