The Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) reportedly reached an advanced stage in talks to buy a 20 per cent stake in Vodafone Egypt from Telecom Egypt, part of a wider $2.5 billion investment in state-owned assets in the North African country.

Bloomberg reported the potential agreement could be signed by the end of this year. It’s not clear which other companies are also being targeted by Qatar’s state sovereign wealth fund.

In a statement to the stock exchange on Thursday (20 October), Telecom Egypt indicated it had not received any official offer regarding a sale of shares in Vodafone Egypt.

Telecom Egypt owns 45 per cent of Vodafone Egypt, while Vodafone Group holds 55 per cent.

The UK-based group is in the process of selling its majority stake to Vodacom Group, although the transaction has not yet been completed.

In July, Vodafone CEO Nick Read conceded the deal has been “slightly protracted” due to a need to get clearance from national and financial regulators, but expressed confidence that the matter would be concluded soon.

Reports last month indicated Vodacom had gained approval from the National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority. However, the Financial Supervision Department of the Reserve Bank of South Africa apparently still needs to approve the deal.