Zain has denied media reports that it has inked a deal to sell its African assets to France's Vivendi for US$12 billion - although it confirmed that talks are ongoing with various parties. The company is known to have recruited Swiss bank UBS to carry out a "strategic review" that could lead to a sale of its former Celtel division.
"We are discussing... It is a number of companies who are interested in this partnership in Africa... There is nothing specific," the firm's chief executive, Saad al-Barrak told Reuters in an interview. "Partnership means bringing in another partner from 25 percent to whatever in Africa," he said, declining to be more specific.
On the reports that a deal has been done with Vivendi, he said "There is no deal reached and we are not even at this stage," There have been previous rumours that Zain was at least in talks with Vivendi, which co-owns the French mobile network SFR - along with Vodafone.
Celtel was founded by Sudanese-born Mo Ibrahim in 1998 and sold to Kuwiat's MTC (now Zain) in April 2005 for US$3.4 billion.