Saudi firms would look at offloading a 51% stake if a joint business with 15,000 towers was created, source say
Saudi Telecom Company
and competitor Mobily could sell a large
stake in a combined $2.5bn merged towers business, three
people familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.
"Talks for the merger are on, but this is subject to
negotiations and terms and conditions put forth by both
companies," one of the people said.
The person said the Saudi firms would look at offloading a
51 percent stake if a joint business with 15,000 towers was
Another person said the companies were undecided over
whether to sell 49 percent or 51 percent.
"We are not 100 percent sure that a majority stake sale is
going to be on the table," the second person said.
State-owned Saudi Telecom, the country's largest telecom,
has around 11,500 towers. Mobily, 26 percent owned by UAE group
Etisalat, has about 3,500 towers.
Infrastructure sharing gives companies access to equipment
without the heavy need for major capital investment.
Indian group GTL Infrastructure could bid for the
stake with Abu Dhabi investment fund Mubadala and would fund an
acquisition through a mix of debt and equity, the sources said.
Swedish company Ericsson would bid alongside
Saudi private equity firm Abraaj Capital and SREI Infrastructure
, the parent of Indian group Quippo, could form a third
bidding team with Zamil Group, the people said.
Mobily declined to comment. STC could not be reached for
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