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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 10 December 2018

Omantel offers to acquire further 12% of Zain in $960M deal

The Muscat based company bought a 9.84 per cent stake in the operator in August

Zain's profits were essentially unchanged. Razan Alzayani / The National
Zain's profits were essentially unchanged. Razan Alzayani / The National

Omantel, the largest mobile operator in the sultanate, seeks to increase its stake in regional telco Zain, worth around $960 million, two months after purchasing a minority share in the Kuwait-based operator.

The Muscat-based telco signed a non-binding letter of intent on Sunday with Kuwait-based Al Khair National, a Kharafi Group company to acquire the latter’s 12.17 per cent shareholding in Zain, it said in a statement on the Muscat Securities Market on Monday.

The stake is valued at 290m Kuwaiti dinar ($957m) according to Zain’s closing share price on Thursday.

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Omantel to acquire 10 per cent stake in Zain

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Al Khair, an investment company, said on Sunday that it was changing the purpose of its stake in Zain from a “long-term investment” to “exiting investment,” according to a statement to the Kuwait stock exchange. The investment company is currently studying the offer.

Zain shares, which were suspended from trading on Sunday ahead of Al Khair's announcement, rose 3.6 per cent in early trading on Monday morning.

If completed, the deal would take Omantel’s shareholding in Zain to 22 per cent, following the acquisition of its initial 9.84 per cent stake in August.

Omantel’s acquisition of Zain is its first major foray beyond its home market; the Omani operator 10 years ago acquired Pakistani ISP Worldcall, but offloaded the investment this year.