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Batelco and KHC make joint bid for Zain KSA

Bahraini incumbent and Saudi investment firm stage bid for 25% of Zain KSA.

Batelco and KHC make joint bid for Zain KSA
Zain KSA has attracted a fresh bid from Batelco and KHC.

Batelco Group and Kingdom Holding Company (KHC) have launched a combined bid to acquire Zain Group's 25% stake in Zain Saudi Arabia.

The development follows Zain Group's rejection of separate bids from the two companies last month.

Batelco Group, Bahrain's incumbent operator, and Saudi Arabian investment firm, KHC, said they had agreed a "revised bid" to acquire a 25% of Zain KSA from Zain Group, with the bid valid until 9am on March 14.

The two companies agreed the plan at a meeting attended by Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, chairman, KHC, Shaikh Hamad Bin Abdulla Al Khalifa, chairman of Batelco, Peter Kaliaropoulos, group CEO, Batelco and Ahmed Halawani, executive director, KHC.

Halawani said that KHC would lead the due diligence and negotiate the terms and conditions of the "final binding agreement" should Zain Group's board accept the initial offer.

The development followed closely from a report by Kuwaiti daily newspaper Al-Seyassah that KHC intended to make an offer for a controlling stake in Zain Group, at a price of 1.7 dinars ($6.12) per share.     

The combined offer from Batelco and Kingdom Holding is likely to come as welcome news to UAE telco Etisalat, which said last week that it remained committed to acquiring 46% stake in Zain Group. As a condition for that deal to go ahead, Zain Group must dispose of its Saudi Arabian assets for regulatory reasons.

Etisalat originally announced its bid to acquire a 46% stake in Zain for almost $12 billion in November 2010, although the deal has faced numerous hurdles, with the telco already breaking two deadlines to complete due diligence.

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