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Kuwaiti group inks Zain sale deal with UAE s Etisalat

KUWAIT CITY, Nov 3 – The Khorafi Group, the leading private shareholder in Kuwaiti telecoms firm Zain, signed Wednesday a preliminary agreement to sell Etisalat a 46-percent in the company, a statement said.

"Our client has informed us that an agreement has been signed… with UAE Etisalat," the National Investment Co., which represents the Khorafi Group, said in a statement posted on the Kuwait Stock Exchange website.

"Due diligence will start in accordance with the rules and regulations of the company (Zain).

"Sale procedures will be executed in accordance with the rules and regulations of the Kuwait Stock Exchange," the statement added.

In late September, Etisalat said it had made a preliminary offer to leading investors in Zain, Kuwait\’s largest mobile operator, to purchase a controlling stake in the company in a deal estimated to cost well above 10 billion dollars.

United Arab Emirates telecoms giant Etisalat has submitted a preliminary conditional offer to buy a 46-percent stake of Zain at 1.7 dinars (5.97 dollars) per share.

The Khorafi Group directly owns 12.7 percent of Zain, but its share is believed amount to more than 20 percent if indirect stakes are taken into account.

The Kuwaiti group had earlier said it started collecting the needed shares from other holders to make up the deal.

The 46 percent is a controlling stake in Zain since 10 percent of its equity are in treasury shares which do not have voting power.

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The signing on Wednesday apparently comes after overcoming snags between leading Kuwaiti investors in Zain over the deal.

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