Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Zain, Etisalat Deny Acquisition Claim

Emirates Telecommunication Corp., or Etisalat, is not in talks to buy a 51% stake in Kuwait's Mobile Telecommunication Corp., or Zain, a senior company official said Tuesday. "We are not in negotiations with Zain," Ahmed bin Ali, Etisalat's manager of corporate communications, told Zawya Dow Jones.
Media reports cited an Etisalat official as saying that the company is interested in buying a 51% stake in Zain. Bin Ali said the official's comment was a "general opinion of an employee." Zain spokesperson declined to comment.
Zain and Etisalat are the two largest telecom operators in the region by market capitalization after Saudi Telecom. Etisalat's market capitalization is $20.64 billion, while Zain's is $17.83 billion. The two operators compete in many of the same markets. Both have operations in Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Nigeria among other countries.
In comments to Zawya Dow Jones in April, Etisalat's chairman said the company was looking to expand across the Mideast, Asia and Africa.
In May, a Zain executive told Zawya Dow Jones that the company's focus for the year is no longer on mergers and acquisitions. Instead the aim is to synergize Zain's existing operations.

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