Kingdom Holding bids for Zain Saudi stake

Saudi investment firm could clear way for Etisalat to buy Zain Group stake

Tags: Bahrain Telecommunications CompanyEmirates Telecommunications CorporationKingdom Holding CompanyUnited Arab EmiratesZain - Saudi ArabiaZain Group (www.zain.com)
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Kingdom Holding bids for Zain Saudi stake Kingdom Holding's bid to buy Zain Saudi stake expires on February 6. (Getty Images)
By  Nithyasree Trivikram Published  January 31, 2011

Kingdom Holding, a Saudi investment firm, has shown interest in buying Zain Group's 24% stake in Zain Saudi Arabia, according to a Reuters report.

While Kingdom Holding did not specify what price it was willing to pay for the operator, the firm's bid is set to expire on February 6, the report said.

The deal could enable the UAE telco Etisalat to buy the proposed 46% stake in Zain Group valued at $12 billion.

The sale of 24% stake in Zain Saudi Arabia, which is valued at 2.75 billion riyals ($733 million), is a pre-requisite for UAE telco Etisalat's proposed acquisition of Zain Group. Earlier, Etisalat missed the January 15 deadline to complete the due diligence for its acquisition of Zain Group, and extended it further saying that it aims to complete the due diligence by February 28.

In October, Bahraini operator Batelco expressed its interest in buying the Zain Saudi Arabia stake as part of its expansion strategy. Batelco's chief executive said that the operator was keen to buy a stake in Zain Saudi at the right price, the report added.

Saudi billionaire and Kingdom Holding's chairman Alwaleed owns 95% of the firm's stake, and has minority stakes in some of the world's top companies including Time Warner and Apple.

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