Oman Telecommunications Company (Omantel), the Sultanate’s incumbent telecoms operator, is set to acquire 9.84% of Zain Group for USD846.1 million, after it agreed to buy 425.7 million Zain treasury shares in cash at a price of KWD0.60 (USD1.99) per share, subject to regulatory approval, the company said in a statement. Credit Suisse is acting as the exclusive financial adviser and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP as legal adviser to Omantel on the deal. The investment is part of Omantel’s strategy to diversify its exposure, the Omani firm said, adding that the company aims to ‘position ourselves as a leading digital service provider’. Going forward, the duo will look to collaborate on the wholesale telecoms business, operations and networks, and commercial activities.
The share purchase was announced days before the Omani Sultanate is to shortlist qualified applicants for the country’s third mobile licence, expected to take place on 14 August, with the winner scheduled to be announced on 4 September. Zain Saudi Arabia, Saudi Telecom Company (STC), UAE’s Etisalat and Sudatel Telecom Group have all submitted comprehensive technical plans and financial offers for the concession.