Batelco, the incumbent telecommunications operator in Bahrain, has made a bid for Zain's 25 per cent stake in its Saudi unit.
Batelco said yesterday it had joined Kingdom Holding, the investment company run by the Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, in its pursuit for Zain's Saudi unit.
The Saudi subsidiary has been one of the focal points of Etisalat's takeover bid of its parent company.
Etisalat, the UAE's largest telecommunications operator, has offered more than US$11 billion (Dh40.4bn) for a 51 per cent stake in Zain, worth 1.7 dinars a share.
Etisalat already operates in the kingdom under the Mobily brand and acquiring the Zain unit would not be allowed by Saudi Arabia's telecoms regulators.
Peter Kaliaropoulos, the group chief executive of Batelco, said the operator had submitted a "confidential and non-binding offer" to acquire the 25 per cent stake in Zain Saudi Arabia that its parent company owns.
"Our offer is subject to due diligence and a number of terms and conditions, including approvals from regulatory authorities such as the communications and information technology commission and [the] capital market authority, Zain Saudi Arabia board directors, and other relevant parties," Mr Kaliaropoulos said.
Batelco said its offer was valid until next Wednesday. Kingdom Holding extended its original offer for Zain Saudi Arabia to this Sunday.
Zain's controlling stake in its Saudi unit is valued at about 2.77bn riyals (Dh2.71bn).