Etisalat, the state-controlled telecommunications company of the United Arab Emirates, has made an offer to acquire a large stake in Zain, Kuwait’s largest operator, which has mobile telecom operations in Iraq.
The Financial Times reports that Zain, which is partially owned by Kuwait’s sovereign wealth fund (24.6%) and the country’s Kharafi family (13%), has been seen as a possible target after it sold its African operations to India’s Bharti Airtel for $10.7bn earlier this year.
Last month, Zain reported a first-half net income of $3.1 billion, aided by a $2.65 billion gain from the African asset sale. Consolidated revenue from Zain’s Middle East operations rose 10 percent from a year earlier to $2.33 billion.
According to CNBC Arabia, Etisalat had offered to buy a 46 per cent stake in Zain for just under $12bn, or KD1.7 a share, making this the biggest M&A deal in the Gulf region to date.
Zain’s shares jumped almost 8 per cent to close at KD1.36 on Kuwait’s stock market, valuing it at KD5.8bn. Etisalat closed 0.9 per cent higher at Dh10.8.
(Sources: Financial Times, Bloomberg)