Saudi Telecom Falls Short of Plan to Get 100% Ownership of Viva

  • STC's ownership in Viva to increase to 51.8% from 26%
  • The Saudi operator was seeking 100% of Kuwait's Viva

Saudi Telecom Co., the biggest phone operator in the oil-rich kingdom, said it will boost its stake in Viva Kuwait Telecom Co. to 51.8 percent, falling short of its earlier plan to get full ownership of the company. Viva shares dropped to the lowest since Nov. 15.

The operator known as STC will buy 25.8 percent of Viva at one Kuwaiti dinar a share, valuing the deal at 1.59 billion riyals ($424 million), according to a statement posted on the Saudi stock exchange. Saudi Telecom Chief Executive Officer Khalid Biyari said last week the offer “is quite reasonable and actually does have a premium compared to what a fair price for the share was declared by the independent consultant.”

On Dec. 14, the Saudi company offered to buy 74 percent of Viva’s total outstanding shares.

Viva shares fell 4.3 percent to 900 dinars at 12:15 p.m. in Kuwait, heading for the biggest three-day loss since Dec. 16. STC shares rose 1.2 percent, its fifth day of gains.

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