Saudi Telecom Co (STC), the kingdom’s biggest telecoms operator, said on Monday it needed more time to complete processes related to a planned deal to buy Vodafone Group’s 55% stake in Vodafone Egypt.
STC said it had extended its memorandum of understanding with Vodafone Group for 90 days and attributed the reason for the delay to logistical challenges caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Saudi Telecom in January struck a preliminary deal to buy the stake for $2.4 billion, seeking growth in the Arab world’s most populous nation.
Vodafone Egypt is the country’s largest among the country’s three mobile operators with a market share of more than 40 per cent translating to 44 million subscribers. STC is also Saudi Arabia’s biggest mobile operator, with about 45 per cent market share.
Vodafone International owns 55 per cent of Vodafone Egypt, while the remaining 45 per cent stake is owned by the government’s Telecom Egypt (TE).
The transaction was initially expected to be closed by June 2020.