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Vodafone to sell 55 per cent stake in its Egyptian unit to Saudi Arabia telecom giant for $2.4bn

By Ramla Soni

Non-binding deal values Vodafone Egypt at $4.4 billion and the transaction is expected to close by June

Vodafone has made a preliminary deal to sell its 55 per cent stake in its Egyptian unit to Saudi Arabia’s largest telecoms operator STC for $2.4 billion (£1.8bn, €2.18bn).

Both companies have agreed an arrangement over the long-term use of the Vodafone brand and other services in Egypt.

The non-binding deal values Vodafone Egypt at $4.4 billion (£3.35bn) and the transaction is said to be expected to close by June.

Selling the stake is in line with Vodafone’s efforts to streamline its operations to focus on Europe and sub-Saharan Africa, Vodafone CEO Nick Read said.

STC said the non-binding agreement was valid for 75 days and could be extended by mutual consent.

The binding agreement is subject to approvals by STC and Vodafone, and regulators. STC said no other parties were involved in the potential deal.

STC, also known as Saudi Telecom, is majority owned by Saudi Arabia’s state fund the Public Investment Fund (PIF).

Telecom Egypt, which also owns a stake in Vodafone Egypt, said it had no intention of selling its stake.

Vodafone recently became the latest company to leave Facebook's digital currency project, Libra. Facebook announced in June last year that it would launch the digital currency in partnership with other members of the association.

A Vodafone spokesperson said: “We have said from the outset that Vodafone's desire is to make a genuine contribution to extending financial inclusion. We remain fully committed to that goal and feel we can make the most contribution by focusing our efforts on [mobile payments platform] M-Pesa.”

Payments giants Mastercard and Visa pulled out of the Libra project in October, citing regulatory uncertainty.

FURTHER READING: Vodafone signs air traffic control deal for air taxis in Germany

FURTHER READING: Telecoms services: why 2020 might be a challenge

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