Investors close in on stake in Zain

Local paper claims group of investors close to sealing $15bn stake in Kuwaiti telco

Tags: KuwaitMergers and acquisitionsZain - Kuwait
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Investors close in on stake in Zain Kuwait daily Al-Rai claims that a group of Asian investors are seeking a $15 billion stake in Zain.
By  George Bevir Published  September 7, 2009

A group of Gulf and Asia-based investors is closing in on a stake in telecom giant Zain, according to an AFP report.

The news service said that shareholders in the Kuwaiti telecom firm have reached a preliminary agreement with the investors to sell 46% of their stake, citing local newspaper Al-Rai.

It claims the Kuwaiti investors are led by Kharafi group, which holds 10.8% of Zain and whose capitalisation stands at $23.2 billion dollars and that if the deal goes through it would be worth US$15 billion.

At the start of September shareholders voted to scrap limits on the individual ownership of shares in the operator, paving the way for a partial takeover of the group.

The vote cancelled articles that capped individual ownership to 2% of the company’s capital and limited public shareholding companies to holding no more than 5%.

Speculation about the future of Zain has been mounting since it was revealed that the operator was looking to sell the majority of its African assets.

French media firm Vivendi, the first company to express an interest in acquiring some of Zain’s African operators ruled itself out of any bidding process at the start of the month.

Talk of a sale of some of the operator’s African assets was followed by reports that some of Zain’s shareholders were interested in divesting their stakes in the company.

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