UAE's Etisalat walks away from $12 bn Zain deal

Reuters, Saturday 19 Mar 2011

The UAE telecom firm Etisalat said on Saturday it would no longer pursue a deal to buy a controlling stake in Kuwaiti telecom rival Zain.

Etisalat said it had ended discussions with a unit of Zain major shareholder Kharafi Group to gather the shares to tender to its offer, the Abu Dhabi-based firm said in a statement.

"Etisalat has to announce unfortunately that negotiations ... towards acquiring a controlling stake in Zain have ended," the statement said.

The Gulf's largest telecom firm offered last September to buy a 46-percent stake in Zain, worth about $12 billion, for 1.7 dinars a share from a consortium led by Kharafi Group.

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