UAE: To acquire 80% stake ‘Zain KSA approves PIF-led consortium’s bid’


Saudi Arabia’s second-largest telecoms company Zain KSA has approved a Public Investment Fund-led consortium offer to acquire an 80 per cent majority stake in its 8,069-tower infrastructure for more than 3 billion Saudi riyals ($807 million).

Under the deal, the kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund has acquired a 60 per cent stake in Zain KSA, while Sultan Holding company and Prince Saud bin Fahad have each acquired 10 per cent.

Zain KSA, also known as Mobile Telecommunications Company Saudi Arabia, retained the remaining 20 per cent share in the unit. However, the PIF has a call option to buy the remaining 20 per cent for a specified amount, the company said on Tuesday.

This transaction creates “enormous shareholder value” and gives Zain KSA “greater financial muscle” to invest in latest technologies and innovation that enhance the customer mobile and data experience, said Bader Al Kharafi, vice chairman of Zain KSA.

“The proceeds of this sale will enhance the company’s financial liquidity and profitability … the unlocking of capital to focus on higher yielding digital investments and optimisation of infrastructure that creates internal efficiencies is a core element of Zain’s transformational ‘4Sight’ strategy,” Mr Al Kharafi said.READ MORESaudi Arabia’s sovereign fund raises $3.2bn from sale of STC stakeMoody’s assigns debut rating to Saudi Arabia’s PIF

Zain KSA is the Saudi unit of Kuwait-based telecoms operator Zain Group.

The completion of this transaction in Saudi Arabia follows similar tower deals that Zain has completed in its operations in Kuwait and Jordan.

Under the terms of the offers, Zain KSA will sell its passive physical towers infrastructure and retain all other wireless communication antennas, software, technology and intellectual property with respect to managing its telecoms network.

This transaction is in line with the strategy to develop the local information and communication technology sector and localise the related technologies in the kingdom, Zain KSA said.

The PIF plays an integral role in the kingdom’s Vision 2030 plan, which seeks to diversify the Arab world’s largest economy and reduce its reliance on oil.

In a five-year strategy that was announced in January, the fund aims to more than double the value of its assets under management to $1.07 trillion and commit $40bn a year to develop the domestic economy until 2025.

Last August, it bought a stake in Italian luxury car maker Pagani, which makes some of the world’s most expensive supercars and counts Mark Zuckerberg and Lionel Messi among its list of high-profile clients.

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