Kuwait-based telecoms group Zain has confirmed that it has signed a term sheet agreement with Saudi investment vehicle Kingdom Holding Company (KHC) and Bahrain Telecommunications Company (Batelco) to sell its 25% stake in Zain Saudi Arabia. In a statement issued to the Kuwaiti bourse, Zain said: ‘Zain signed yesterday the term sheet for the non-binding offer, with Kingdom-Batelco consortium … to buy Zain’s 25% stake in Zain Saudi’. Following the agreement, the buyers are reportedly preparing to commence due diligence. Batelco CEO Peter Kaliaropoulos had previously commented: ‘All parties look forward to the due diligence phase and approvals from all relevant authorities in Saudi Arabia including the Zain Saudi board.’
As reported by CommsUpdate last month, the Zain group accepted a joint offer for its 25% stake in Zain Saudi Arabia from KHC and Batelco on 14 March; the deal is worth between USD950 million and USD1.2 billion. Zain’s efforts to sell its Saudi Arabian assets began during Etisalat’s unsuccessful USD12 million attempt to buy a 46% stake in the Kuwait-based firm; Etisalat already owned a controlling stake in Saudi’s second-placed mobile operator Mobily and its broadband unit Bayanat Al-Oula, meaning that Zain Saudi Arabia needed to be offloaded for anti-trust reasons. The deal fell through last month after Etisalat walked away, citing Zain’s divided board and regional unrest, leaving the KHC-Batelco deal hanging in the balance.