Batelco Said to Reach Out to Etisalat, Ooredoo for Jordan Sale

  • Sale of Umniah Mobile may fetch as much as $600 million
  • Citigroup working with Batelco on options for the unit

Bahrain Telecommunications Co. has reached out to potential buyers including Emirates Telecommunications Group and Qatar’s Ooredoo QSC about a sale of its Jordanian mobile operator, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The former Bahrain state monopoly, known as Batelco, has also approached other companies and private-equity firms about a possible sale of Umniah Mobile Co., nearly a year after appointing Citigroup Inc. as an adviser on the disposal, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is private. A sale of Umniah may fetch about $500 million to $600 million, the people said, adding that there was no formal agreement with any of the parties yet and talks may still fall apart.

Batelco was working with Citigroup to evaluate options for Umniah, people familiar with the matter said in November last year. The Bahrain operator bought 96 percent of Umniah for $415 million in 2006, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Umniah had more than 3 million customers in Jordan and a market share of about 32 percent in 2014, according to its website. In Bahrain, Batelco competes with the local units of Kuwait’s Mobile Telecommunications Co. and Saudi Telecom Co.

Representatives for Batelco, Citigroup and Etisalat declined to comment. Officials for Ooredoo didn’t respond to requests for comment.

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