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Zain KSA to sell 8,069 tower infrastructure for $807m to PIF

Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund has acquired a 60% majority stake while Sultan Holding company and Prince Saud bin Fahad have snapped up 10% each.

The Board of Directors of Zain Saudi Arabia (Zain KSA) has approved a Public Investment Fund-led consortium offer to acquire an 80% majority stake in its 8,069-tower infrastructure for more than SAR 3.026bn ($807m).

The consortium offers will see the PIF acquiring a 60% stake, Sultan Holding Company acquiring 10%, and Prince Saud bin Fahd bin Abdulaziz acquiring 10%. Zain KSA will own the remaining 20% stake, with the PIF having a call option to buy this remaining 20% for a specified amount.

Under the terms of the offers, Zain KSA will sell its passive physical towers infrastructure and retain all other wireless communication antennas, software, technology and intellectual property with respect to managing its telecoms network.

This transaction is in line with the strategy to develop the local information and communication technology sector and localise the related technologies in the kingdom, Zain KSA said.

This step will enhance the efforts of both Zain KSA and PIF to upgrade the Kingdom’s ICT ecosystem, by maximising the efficiency of the tower infrastructure through the combined expertise of Zain KSA and the PIF to enhance the sector’s efficiency and financial feasibility.

Bader Al Kharafi, Group CEO and Zain KSA Vice-Chairman, said: “This transaction creates enormous shareholder value and gives Zain KSA greater financial muscle to invest in cutting-edge technologies and innovation that enhance the customer mobile and data experience. We congratulate the Kingdom’s leadership, the PIF and regulatory authorities for their wisdom in creating an environment that raises the telecom sector to new heights in line with Saudi Vision 2030.”

Al Kharafi added: “The unlocking of capital to focus on higher-yielding digital investments and optimization of infrastructure that creates internal efficiencies is a core element of Zain’s transformational ‘4Sight’ strategy, empowering Zain to enhance the meaningful connectivity we provide the communities, businesses and governments we serve. I also wish to recognise the concerted and joint efforts of the Zain KSA board of directors and the Zain Group and Zain KSA teams in finalizing this first of its kind transaction in KSA with the visionary PIF-led consortium. The proceeds of this sale will enhance the company’s financial liquidity and profitability.”

The completion of this transaction in Saudi Arabia follows similar tower deals that Zain has completed in its operations in Kuwait and Jordan.