Saudi operator Zain KSA approved a Public Investment Fund (PIF)-led consortium offer to acquire an 80% majority stake in its 8,069-tower infrastructure for SAR3 billion ($807 million).
Under the deal, the kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund acquired a 60% stake in Saudi Arabia’s second-largest telecoms company, with Sultan Holding Company and Prince Saud bin Fahad each also snapping up 10% shares in the telecoms firm.
According to a media release, Zain KSA will sell its passive, physical towers infrastructure and retain all other wireless communication antennas, software, technology, and intellectual property concerning managing its telecom network.
“This transaction follows an in-depth evaluation to complete due diligence and ensure compliance with the Kingdom’s regulatory requirements and obtain the necessary approvals, and is in line with the strategy to develop the local Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector and localize the related technologies in the Kingdom,” said the release.
This step will enhance the efforts of both Zain KSA and PIF to upgrade the Kingdom’s ICT ecosystem, by maximizing the efficiency of the tower infrastructure through the combined expertise of Zain KSA and the PIF to enhance the sector's efficiency and financial feasibility, the release added.
Bader Al Kharafi, Zain Group vice-chairman and CEO, and Zain KSA vice-chairman said: “This transaction creates enormous shareholder value and gives Zain KSA greater financial muscle to invest in cutting-edge technologies and innovation that enhance the customer mobile and data experience. We congratulate the Kingdom’s leadership, the PIF, and regulatory authorities for their wisdom in creating an environment that raises the telecom sector to new heights in line with Saudi Vision 2030.”
He added: “The unlocking of capital to focus on higher-yielding digital investments and optimization of infrastructure that creates internal efficiencies is a core element of Zain’s transformational ‘4Sight’ strategy, empowering Zain to enhance the meaningful connectivity we provide the communities, businesses, and governments we serve. I also wish to recognize the concerted and joint efforts of the Zain KSA board of directors and the Zain Group and Zain KSA teams in finalising this first of its kind transaction in KSA with the visionary PIF-led consortium.”