Saudi Telecom Company (STC) picked up clearance from the Kuwait Capital Markets Authority to make a bid for the shares it does not own in affiliate Viva, although its offer price did raise some eyebrows.

The company is offering KWD1 ($3.30) per share, which is below the price the stock was trading in the run-up to the latest announcement. However, it does represent a premium on the price in the period to mid-November, which was the point at which STC revealed its intention.

STC already owns 26 per cent of Viva, and is making a bid for the remaining 74 per cent (499.4 million shares). This gives a maximum cost of around KWD500 million ($1.65 billion).

Other major shareholders are Public Institute for Social Security (9.73 per cent) and Kuwait Investment Authority (6 per cent).

The operator is profitable, with its 9 month profit (to 30 September) of KWD33 million up 12 per cent year-on-year, on revenue up 17 per cent to KWD204 million.

Viva and Ooredoo are roughly level pegging in the Kuwait mobile market, behind market leader Zain.

The offer period starts on 27 December and runs until 31 January 2016, at which point STC can announce the number of shareholders accepting.