Mobily, the second-largest mobile operator in Saudi Arabia behind STC, has ended talks to buy a stake in fixed-line operator Etihad Atheeb Telecommunications (EATC), putting in check any quad-play ambitions it might have had.
In a statement to the kingdom’s bourse, Mobily – an affiliate of the UAE’s Etisalat – said it had been conducting talks with four founding EATC shareholders via Bayanat, a wholly-owned Mobily subsidiary (which already has a fixed-line data licence).
By adding EATC it was expected Mobily would be able to offer fixed and mobile packages, including landline calls.
Mobily’s statement does not say why the discussions were called off.
Reuters reports that Mobily – last month – said it wanted to acquire a 20 per cent stake in EATC through a rights share issue.
It seems, however, that discussions had been dragging on. It was back in August last year that a memorandum of understanding was signed by Bayanat and EATC’s founding shareholders to buy a controlling interest in the company.
EATC has around 200,000 customers. Reuters reports that it made a loss of SAR249 million ($66.4 million) for the 12 months ending 31 March 2014.