An Egyptian court has blocked France Telecom's €1.5 billion ($2.2b) attempt to take full control of Egyptian mobile operator ECMS after ruling the bid was too low.
The move came on the last day of France Telecom’s purchase offer period and was prompted by Orascom Telecom, which has been locked in a lengthy battle for the control of ECMS for months.
The preliminary court ruling has come as a shock to France Telecom as last month it had finally secured the green light of Egypt's regulator. In early January Orascom announced that was taking the decision to court after failing to get its way.
The Cairo court's ruling effectively overturns the regulator's approval of France Telecom's bid for ECMS’s Mobinil.
France Telecom said it would await the full court ruling on February 13 before deciding whether to appeal. The regulator can also appeal the ruling.
Orascom Telecom has publicly stated that it was prepared to negotiate a solution with FT but only if allowed to remain a partner in the Egyptian operator.