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Zain accepts offer to sell stake in Saudi unit

RIYADH, Mar 14 – Kuwait Zain telecom has accepted a joint offer by Saudi Kingdom Holding and Bahrain\’s Batelco to sell its 25-percent stake in Zain Saudi Arabia, a statement said on Monday.

Kingdom Holding said in a statement it had received a "preliminary acceptance of the non-binding offer and a preliminary expression from the Board of Directors of Zain Kuwait."

"The consortium\’s offer is $950 million in cash and is subject to the findings of the due diligence, which could take at least six weeks," Kingdom Holding of Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal said.

The offer does not include the assumption of $3.8 billion of Zain Saudi Arabia debt, the statement said.

Last month, Zain rejected three separate offers to sell its stake in Zain Saudi Arabia, two of them independent bids by Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal\’s Kingdom and Batelco.

The sale of Zain\’s stake in the Saudi firm was a precondition for a $12 billion deal to sell a majority stake in the Kuwaiti firm to the United Arab Emirates\’ Etisalat which collapsed at the start of March.

The Khorafi Group, the largest private shareholder in Zain, scrapped on March 1 a preliminary deal with Etisalat because the due diligence process was not completed by the end of February deadline.

But Kuwaiti media reported Monday that the Etisalat deal could be revived.

Last year, Zain, in which the Kuwaiti government has a 24.6-percent stake, sold operations in 15 African nations to India\’s Bharti Airtel for $10.7 billion.

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