Qatar’s telecom giant Qtel announced on Sunday its majority stake in Kuwait’s Wataniya mobile firm will be raised to 92.1 percent in a deal worth $1.85 billion, the company said in a statement.
Qtel said it has received the acceptance of shareholders owning around 200 million shares representing 39.61 percent of Wataniya at a price of 2.6 dinars ($9.25) at the close of a tender offer on October 4.
The Qatari firm had purchased around 52.5 percent of Wataniya about five years ago in a deal worth $4.0 billion.
The new purchase includes 23.5 percent of shares held by Kuwait Investment Authority or the Gulf state’s sovereign wealth fund which is managing Kuwaiti overseas investments estimated at $400 billion.
The value of KIA stake is approximately $1.1 billion.
“Wataniya Telecom Kuwait’s shareholders who have tendered their shares will receive payment within approximately three weeks, subject to approval by the Kuwait Capital Markets Authority and the Kuwait Stock Exchange,” Qtel said.
“We are delighted with the level of acceptances received from Wataniya Telecom Kuwait’s shareholders,” Qtel chairman Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed Al-Thani said.
Wataniya operates in Kuwait, Algeria, the Maldives, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and the Palestinian territories. It serves 18.3 million subscribers, up from 16.9 million clients a year ago.
One of the largest telecom firms in the Gulf, Qtel operates in the Middle East and North Africa and Southeast Asia regions and had a customer base of 83.7 million on June 30 this year.