Russian-owned telecoms group Vimpelcom has confirmed that it has signed an agreement to merge its Pakistani mobile unit Mobilink with Abu Dhabi’s Warid Telecom. Under the terms of the agreement, Mobilink will acquire 100% of Waird’s shares, in exchange for which Abu Dhabi Group’s shareholders will take approximately 15% of the shares in Mobilink. The transaction is expected to be concluded within the next six months, whilst the merger itself is anticipated to be completed within six months of the deal’s closing. Further, the deal includes put/call options – each at a ‘fair market value’ – for Abu Dhabi and Vimpelcom respectively following a four-year lock-in period. The combined entity will have a subscriber base of more the 45 million wireless users, representing a market share of 37.4%. The merger is expected to create CAPEX and OPEX synergies with a net value of approximately USD500 million.
Commenting on the merger, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Group, Sheikh Nahyan Mubarak Al Nahyan, noted: ‘Creating the largest operator in Pakistan is a significant milestone for Mobilink and Warid but also for Pakistan as a whole. Warid’s partnership with Mobilink will create value for all stakeholders and pave the way for exceptional and cost-efficient telecommunication services for customers. Both parties bring their unique strengths to this merger. Warid, with its strong post-paid base and high quality 4G/LTE network will complement Mobilink’s position in the market.’