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Zain shareholder, Etisalat sign due diligence deal

Due diligence expected to take about six weeks-paper.

November 3, 2010 10:31 by

Etisalat and major Zain shareholder Kharafi Group signed an agreement on Wednesday to start the due diligence process for a deal to sell 46 percent of Zain to the UAE telecoms operator.

“We were informed by our client that Al Khair National and Emirates Telecommunications Co have signed an agreement, and the due diligence will start,” National Investments Co (NIC), a Kharafi Group unit, said in statement on the Kuwaiti bourse.

In September, Etisalat, the Gulf’s second-largest telecom operator by market value, bid 1.7 dinars ($6.06) a share for a 46 percent stake in Zain in a deal worth just under $12 billion.

The bid won the backing of Kharafi Group, which began assembling a consortium of shareholders to tender to the offer.

But Etisalat said in October that it will only determine if its initial offer price for Zain was valid after completing the due diligence process.

Kharafi Group has said it had accumulated enough shares to tender to the offer through its brokerage unit, NIC.

On Wednesday, Kuwaiti daily newspaper al-Qabas said it learned that the due diligence is expected to take about six weeks or less.

Shares of both Zain and Etisalat were unchanged at 0713 GMT on the Kuwait and Abu Dhabi bourses respectively Wednesday.

(Reporting by Eman Goma; Editing by David Cowell)

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