Kuwait's KIPCO hires Rothschild for TV unit's IPO

Financial group to advise on initial public offering of its pay-TV company OSN

Kuwait Projects Co (KIPCO), the country's largest investment company by assets, said on Saturday it had hired financial group Rothschild to advise on an initial public offering of its pay-TV company OSN.

KIPCO, a major regional investment house with stakes in media, industrial, financial and real estate companies, owns 60.5 percent of OSN and its Saudi-based partner Mawarid Group has 39.5 percent.

"OSN's market position and potential for future growth has created an opportunity for an IPO that we now want to explore with our partner Mawarid Group," KIPCO's vice chairman, Faisal al-Ayyar, said in a statement.

Earnings at OSN, which broadcasts in the Middle East and North Africa, helped drive a rise in full-year KIPCO group earnings in 2012.

"This is a feasibility study ahead of a potential float for OSN for which Rothschild has been hired," a source familiar with the matter said. "Once the company decided to pursue a floatation, more banks will be involved in the deal," the source added. Rothschild will not underwrite or distribute the IPO.

Rothschild had a similar role in the recently concluded London listing of Abu Dhabi's Al Noor Hospitals.

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