9 Feb 2010
Kuwait’s Zain group has denied that it has received any offers for its African operations following reports that it was in talks with three companies over the networks. Kuwait’s Al Anbaa paper reported, citing sources familiar with the matter, that France’s Vivendi, France Telecom and the UK’s Vodafone Group were engaged in negotiations with Zain over the purchase of Zain Africa (previously Celtel), which has operations in 16 countries across the continent. Zain did not deny that it was holding talks, but released a statement saying: ‘There are no current offers and the company will inform the [Kuwaiti] bourse’s administration with any new information that may arise regarding this issue.’ The sale of Zain’s African operations was first discussed in mid-2009, with the Kuwaiti firm rejecting a USD10.5 billion bid from Vivendi for a 65% stake in Zain Africa. At that time Zain said that it did not need to sell the operations and would need an offer to reflect that to convince it to sell.