Saudi Telecom Co (STC) has confirmed that it has agreed a SAR11.4 billion deal that will give it a 25% stake in Maxis Communications, Malaysia’s largest mobile operator by subscribers. STC will also take a 51% stake in Maxis’s Indonesian operation, Natrindo Telepon Seluler (Lippo Telecom).
In an announcement to the Saudi bourse the two operators said they would invest about USD900 million in India to help Maxis, via its 65% owned subsidiary Aircel, expand operations in the world’s second most populous country. ‘This transaction represents an important step for the company’s drive to become an influential player in the global telecoms sector,’ Saudi Telecom Chairman Mohammed al-Jasser was quoted as saying in the statement.
In May 2007 Malaysian billionaire Ananda Krishnan offered to buy full control of Maxis Communications for MYR15.8 billion (USD4.6 billion) to facilitate its overseas expansion. Private investors that between them owned 40% of the company, received MYR15.60 a share, 20% higher than the closing share price. The bid valued the company at MYR39.5 billion. Maxis said it plans to spend USD3 billion over the next five years expanding its network in India to counter slowing growth at home. Aircel, Maxis’s Indian arm, generated 13% of fourth-quarter sales last year. Aircel said in February it expects to almost double its subscribers to eight million this year.