Consortium to buy Zain stake for $14 billion

46% stake will be bought by consortium made up of India’s Vavasi Group, Bharat Sanchar Nigam, Mahanagar Telephone Nigam and Malaysian billionaire Syed Mokhtar al-Bukhary

Tags: IndiaKuwaitMalaysiaZain - Kuwait
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Consortium to buy Zain stake for $14 billion Zain chief executive Saad al-Barrak (left) and chairman Asad al-Banwan. (Getty Images)
By  Vineetha Menon Published  September 9, 2009

A consortium of Indian telecom firms and a Malaysian investor will buy a 46% stake in the Kuwait’s Zain in a deal worth close to $14 billion.

According to a Reuters report, the Kuwaiti family conglomerate Kharafi Group led sale of its stake - estimated at 20% - along with a group of smaller shareholders to the consortium, which comprises of India's Vavasi Group, state-owned telecom firms Bharat Sanchar Nigam and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam, and the Malaysian billionaire Syed Mokhtar al-Bukhary.

At a news conference in Kuwait, Kharafi said that value of the sale was expected to be around $14 billion and would be paid at one time in accordance with Kuwait Stock Exchange rules.

The consortium also revealed that it would not offload Zain’s African operations, which the teclo had previously tried to sell to various contenders including French conglomerate Vivendi.

The news comes close on the heels of a recent decision by Zain shareholders to do away with restrictions on ownership, finally enabling foreign investors to take up a majority stake in the prominent regional telco.

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