During the weekend, news reports surfaced about the potential acquisition of major telecom player Vodafone Egypt’s majority shares to Saudi Telecom STC.
According to Youm 7, sources in the telecoms sector had told them Vodafone Group and STC were in “talks” for the selling of Vodafone’s 55% majority stake over the country’s biggest telecom, in terms of number of consumers.
Currently Vodafone Egypt is shared between Vodafone Group and Telecom Egypt with 54.93% and 44.94% stakes respectively.
STC has already shown its interest in expanding into the Egyptian market, with press reports recorded all the way back to 2013 talking about its previous interest in buying out Telecom Egypt’s shares.
Telecom Egypt denies plans to sell stake in Vodafone Egypt
Yesterday, Telecom Egypt/WE released an official statement stating that they are have not received any recent offers for their shares of Vodafone Egypt and are not willing to sell at this moment.
WE’s official response provides a large possibility that STC will go after Vodafone’s majority shares which could mean that we looking at another change in the telecom landscape.
The last major telecom scene change was in 2016 when French company Orange Int. completed the acquisition of all the shares of Egyptian Company for Mobile Services Mobinil, effectively switching branding from Mobinil to Orange in March 2016.
Vodafone Egypt hasn’t been a brand for long either. Originally Click GSM, the company was rebranded into Vodafone Egypt in 2002.
Currently, no official response has been received from both STC nor Vodafone Egypt on the talks, making this all speculation. However, it may look like Vodafone might be ready to leave the Egyptian market and leave it to regional player STC to handle.
In terms of international negotiations such as these, and in the case of Uber and Careem, local government entities such as WE may not be involved in the conversation until the deal becomes more solidified. Once the two companies’ board of directors approve, the official announcements will be made. Until then, it looks like Vodafone Group and STC are looking to keep it close to the vest until things are settled.
As one of the most memorable brands in Egypt, Vodafone’s red colors and strong visual branding will be missed on Egyptian streets and televisions.