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UBS picked to sell Zain’s Saudi unit – sources

Zain selling its Saudi unit is a regulatory condition for Abu Dhabi group Etisalat's $12 billion bid for a controlling stake in Zain.


December 2, 2010 3:58 by

Kuwaiti telecoms carrier Zain has appointed UBS to sell its Zain Saudi unit, sources said on Thursday.

Zain selling its Saudi unit is a regulatory condition for Abu Dhabi group Etisalat’s $12 billion bid for a controlling stake in Zain.

Etisalat and Zain both have units in Saudi Arabia and compete for market share there.

Bahrain Telecommunications , or Batelco, and South African group MTN were in talks to buy Zain’s Saudi unit, the people said. It was unclear whether other parties were also involved.

Major Zain shareholder Kharafi group is the main player in a plan to sell a 46 percent stake in Zain to Etisalat.

But Sheikh Khalifa Ali al-Khalifa al-Sabah, a member of Kuwait’s ruling family and a Zain board member, told Reuters this week that another shareholder, Al Fawares Holding, had filed a lawsuit to stop Etisalat’s due diligence.

UBS, Zain and MTN declined to comment. Batelco could not be reached for comment.

(Reporting by Eman Goma and Victoria Howley; Editing by Dan Lalor)


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