The Technology & Communication Ministry shortlisted the two companies for the final round of the auction after Vivendi topped the list of original bidders, offering TD 2,440 million ($1,802 million), followed by Tecom-DIG’s bid of TD 2,380 million ($1,758 million).

In total, six telcos put in offers for the stake, including the UAE’s Emirates Telecommunications Corporation (Etisalat), France Telecom, South Africa’s MTN and a consortium of Saudi Oger and Telecom Italia. Thirteen companies were prequalified in December to bid in the auction.

The acquisition will be Tecom’s first outside the UAE. Through its subsidiary Emirates Integrated Technology Company, Tecom holds a 25 per cent stake in the federation’s new second mobile operator du.