Warid and Etisalat merger could form second-largest Pakistani operator

Pakistan Telecommunications, a leading operator in Pakistan affiliated with Etisalat, has expressed an interest in a merger with Warid Telecom.

The entity resulting from such a deal would become the country’s second largest operator.

In addition to having management control over PTCL, Etisalat owns 26% of the operator. The UAE-based firm is reportedly receiving investment advice from Goldman Sachs. PTCL’s operation, branded as Ufone, is the third largest in Pakistan with 23.6 million subscribers at the end of Q1 2013.

Warid Telecom meanwhile has 12.5 million subscribers, but by combining with Ufone the new operation would overtake Telenor’s 30.8 million to become the number two player, behind only Mobilink with 36.6 million.

The Abu Dhabi Group, which owns Warid Telecom, is reportedly looking to sell the operator for $1 billion. Consolidation would be desirable for Pakistan’s mobile market, as operators are struggling due to increasing penetration and fierce competition.

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