Saudi Telecom Company and competitor Mobily may sell a majority stake in a combined $2.5 billion merged towers business, Reuters reported. Swedish company Ericsson is considering a bid alongside Saudi private equity firm Abraaj Capital and SREI Infrastructure, Reuters added. Other potential bidders include a partnership between Indian group GTL Infrastructure and Abu Dhabi investment fund Mubadala.
(Reuters) – Saudi Telecom Company (7010.SE) and competitor Mobily (7020.SE) could sell a large stake in a combined $2.5 billion 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 created.
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 (ETEL.AD), has about 3,500 towers.
Infrastructure sharing gives companies access to equipment without the heavy need for major capital investment.
Indian group GTL Infrastructure (GTLI.BO) 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 (ERICb.ST) would bid alongside Saudi private equity firm Abraaj Capital and SREI Infrastructure (SREI.BO), 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 comment.
(By Victoria Howley and Rajesh Kurup; Editing by Steve Slater and Dan Lalor)