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Further doubt cast on Zain sale

Shareholders attempt to block progress of deal as BSNL lowers bid

Analysts are becoming increasingly skeptical about the potential sale of a 46% stake in Zain to an Indian-Malaysian led consortium.
Analysts are becoming increasingly skeptical about the potential sale of a 46% stake in Zain to an Indian-Malaysian led consortium.

The possible sale of a 46% stake in Kuwait-based telecom operator Zain Group to an Indian-Malaysian led consortium was cast into further doubt yesterday after it emerged that two of Zain's shareholders had filed lawsuits to challenge the sale.

According to a report from Bloomberg, Mohammed al-Jasem of RHA Lawyers confirmed that he had filed four lawsuits on behalf of two Zain shareholder who were requesting the court to prevent a scheduled due diligence in Zain by the Indian-Malaysian group.

Some of Zain's shareholders may have been put off the deal after Indian operator Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL), which is a major force in the consortium vying for the Zain stake, said it would cap its offer at $10 billion, according to India's Business Standard.

The Kharafi Group's original asking price was closer to $14 billion.

Kharafi Group, a Kuwaiti business conglomerate and a major shareholder in Zain, said in early October that it was willing to sell a majority stake in the telco.