Kuwait's Zain is reported to now be in talks with three international telecom operators over the future of its African assets. Citing Chief Executive Officer Saad al-Barrak, the Al-Rai newspaper also confirmed that one of the unnamed companies included one from India.
Talks with the three companies may result in "serious negotiations" leading to the partial or complete sale of Zain's African assets, al-Barrak told the newspaper.
Of the possible Indian bidders, Reliance Communications was a previous suitor for South Africa's MTN Group, indicating an interest in the continent. India's state-owned BSNL has also expressed an interest in African operators, although it has so far limited its talks to minority stakes in individual networks.
France Telecom has previously suggested that it might be interested in some of the African assets, and Vivendi was in formal talks, although it broke off discussions last month.
Zain is carrying out a strategic review of its long term future, and is being advised by investment bank UBS. The company also plans a general meeting at the end of the month to amend rules on shareholder limits that could pave the way for a large investor to take a stake in the company.