The bidding process for a 26% stake in Kuwait’s third mobile phone operator has once again been extended. The Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA), the body heading up the committee that will establish the new operator, having already delayed the closing deadline twice during August, has now said that companies interested in the stake have until 18 November to put an offer together. Initially, the state authority asked companies to team up with a telecoms operator to qualify for the bid, but the extension now allows any company listed on the Kuwaiti stock exchange to bid, with no other pre-qualification requirements. Government institutions will hold 24% of the new cellco, while 50% will be sold off in an initial public offering (IPO), the date for which has yet to be confirmed. The new operator will compete against current market leader Zain Kuwait (formerly MTC-Vodafone) and its rival Wataniya Telecom.
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