Freshfields and Gibson Dunn scoop lead roles as Vivendi sells Maroc Telecom stake

The Paris offices of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Gibson Dunn have picked up the lead roles on Etisalat’s proposed €4.2bn acquisition of Vivendi’s stake in Maroc Telecom.

Middle Eastern telecoms giant Emirates Telecommunications Corporation (Etisalat), a Freshfields client, is in talks to acquire the 53 per cent stake in Maroc Telecom currently held by Vivendi, advised by Gibson Dunn.

The Freshfields team is led by corporate partner Hervé Pisani, who joined the magic circle firm 18 months ago from French boutique Darrois Villey Maillot Brochier (13 December 2011). Pisani is supported by corporate partner Alan Mason, public law partner Pascal Cuche and competition partner Jérôme Philippe.

The firm is working alongside Moroccan correspondent firm Bennani & Associés on the deal.

Meanwhile Gibson Dunn’s team is led by partners Ariel Harroch and Marie-Charlotte Trebuchet, alongside Nadia Kettani of Kettani Law Firm and Saaidi Hdid Consultants partner Mohamed Hdid.

Etisalat’s offer values the controlling stake at 92.6 Moroccan dirhams per share (£7.17). The sale proceeds to Vivendi would total €4.2bn (£3.62bn) in cash, including a 2012 €310m dividend.

The final agreement is subject to informing and consulting with the French Works Councils and to negotiating agreements between Etisalat and the Moroccan government. The parties want to close the deal by the end of the year, subject to the necessary regulatory approvals.

Background to the deal:

Gibson Dunn has previously advised Vivendi on several deals, including the 2007 merger between Vivendi Games and Activision to create video game publisher Activision Blizzard, valued at $18.9bn. Harroch worked on the company’s 2010 acquisition of UK ticketing agency See Tickets alongside a London team.

In Paris, the company has previously turned to other firms including corporate boutique Bredin Prat (9 September 2002) and Allen & Overy (11 September 2011).

Meanwhile Etisalat has used a host of firms on previous Middle Eastern transactions, including Norton Rose (1 May 2006) and White & Case (9 April 2007), although not in North Africa.