“We are pleased with offered price because it is good and suitable for both sides,” Nasser Al Khorafi, chairman of the Khorafi Group, the biggest shareholders in Zain, told Kuwaiti Al Qabas newspaper. The Khorafi Group has a direct ownership of 12.7 per cent of Zain but its share is believed to be more than 20 per cent if indirect stakes are taken into account.
Khorafi confirmed that his group has received an offer from Etisalat, the region’s second largest telecom firm, to buy a controlling stake of 46 per cent in Zain. The 46 percent is a controlling stake in Zain since 10 per cent of its equity are in treasury shares which do not have voting power.
Etisalat confirmed on Wednesday it had submitted a preliminary conditional offer to buy a stake in Zain, but said concluding the deal depends on the fulfillment of certain requirements and conditions.
Zain management told the Kuwait Stock Exchange on Wednesday that it had not received any offer. The bid had in fact been made to leading investors. In March, Zain sold its operations in 15 African nations to India’s Bharti Airtel for $10.7 billion, netting a profit of more than $3 billion from the deal.
Besides Kuwait, Zain operates in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, Sudan and Morocco. The Kuwaiti government holds a 24.6 per cent stake in the firm, which currently has more than 30 million clients.
Before striking the deal with Bharti, Zain held unsuccessful negotiations with an Indo-Malaysian consortium to sell 46 percent of the company for about 14 billion dollars. – AFP