Saudi Telecom to take majority control of Kuwait's Viva

Saudi Telecom (STC) will buy a further 25.8 percent of Viva for $424 million (1.59 billion riyals), taking majority control of its affiliate following the close of a voluntary tender offer period for the Kuwaiti firm's shares.

This will raise STC's stake in Viva to 51.8 percent, the Saudi firm said in a bourse statement on Monday. The former monopoly currently owns 26 percent of Viva, which rapidly won market share after launching services in 2008 and turned profitable four years later.

STC in December said it would offer 1 dinar ($3.30) per share for all shares in Viva it did not own, a proposal Viva's board described as unfair.

Viva's shares had hit a record high of 1.1 dinars before STC revealed its offer price, but Gulf stock markets have since slid following a renewed slump in oil prices. Viva's shares ended Sunday at 0.940 dinars.

Kuwaiti state institutions own about 16 percent of Viva, Reuters data shows.

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