Omantel has signalled its aim to acquire a further 12% holding in Zain Group by signing a letter of intent with Zain shareholder Al Khair National for Stocks and Real Estate (Al Khair).
The Omani operator group said that the investment firm was “studying and evaluating” its offer. In August this year, Omantel acquired a 9.8% stake in Kuwait’s Zain for $846 million, with Zain CEO Bader Al-Kharafi noting at the time that both the firms and their cultures complemented each other.
If Omantel’s latest offer is accepted, it will become the second largest shareholder in Zain behind the Kuwait Investment Authority, which holds a 24.6% stake in the group. While details of the offer were not disclosed, reports indicated Omantel’s offer as being around $960 million.
Muscat-based United Securities’ head of equity research Joice Mathew noted that there was a “small chance” that Omantel could assume managerial control over Zain, as the Kuwait Investment Authority’s support of the group is effectively purely financial.