In an interesting development yesterday, few Etisalat Officials were seen with Warid Management in Lahore yesterday, tells us sources in Warid.
Though we are unclear about the outcome of the meeting, however, the prevailing situation and off-the-record conversations hint that something significant was discussed during the meet-up.
It merits mentioning here that Dhabi Group had re-acquired 30 percent stakes in Warid Telecom from Singtel that it had sold back in 2007. As a result of that particular transaction, SingTel had received US$150 million in cash plus Dhabi Group promised the Singaporean telecom giant a 7.5% share of proceeds from any future sale or public offering of Warid (if ever happens).
Keeping in view the later part of the sale-purchase agreement and the recent past of Warid Telecom, it can be assumed that company might be interested in a sell-out or a merger in days to come.
Considering that 3G auction will happen sometime with-in one year, at least two operating telcos (without 3G licenses) will have to look for a working-bond with those who will have 3G license.
This would not be the first time that Warid is up for sale, in fact it hosted Telenor’s evaluation team in 2009 for two months in its Lahore office.
Zong is also considered a hungry buyer at this point in time, especially when new acquisitions are hard to come — thanks to ban on retailer sales — and Zong is standing at mere 19 million customers. Analyst say that a buy-out of telco is going to remain the best and economical option for acquiring new customers.