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Tue 28 Jan 2020 07:22 PM

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Vodafone in talks to sell Egypt unit to Saudi Telecom

Government official says Saudi Telecom Company is in frame to buy majority stake in Vodafone Egypt

Vodafone in talks to sell Egypt unit to Saudi Telecom

Vodafone Group is in talks to sell its majority stake in its Egyptian unit to Saudi Telecom Company, a senior government official said, in a deal that could see the Saudi firm claiming a prize it had eyed years ago.

STC officials in Saudi Arabia and spokespeople for Vodafone Group didn’t respond to requests for comment, while Vodafone Egypt declined to comment.

Egypt’s cabinet, though, said in a text message that the Egyptian unit’s chief executive officer was due to meet the prime minister on Tuesday.

The Egyptian official asked not to be identified because the government had yet to become officially involved in the process.

The possible deal comes more than six years after STC had considered bid for a minority 45 percent stake in Vodafone Egypt held by state-run Telecom Egypt. Vodafone Group had also expressed an interest in buying the Egyptian state-run telecommunication company’s holding in the unit. Neither deal was realized.

Earlier this week, Telecom Egypt said it hadn’t received any offers and currently had no intention to sell its stake.

Telecom Egypt’s reluctance to sell had been linked in part to its own entry into the mobile-phone market as a fourth operator, rivaling the local units of Vodafone, Emirates Telecommunications Group and Orange.

The company said in 2018 that it would consider selling its stake in Vodafone’s local unit only when its own market share grows enough that its investment begins to suffer.

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