Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) inked a deal with operator stc to buy a 51 per cent stake in the latter’s infrastructure business TAWAL, with the tower business then set to be merged with peer Golden Lattice Investment Company (GLIC).

In a joint statement stc and PIF claimed the combined tower business would become the region’s biggest player and one of the largest in the world. The sum paid for the stake in TAWAL values it at $5.9 billion.

PIF currently owns an 80 per cent stake in GLIC, which runs 8,000 mobile telecom tower sites through wholesale brand LATIS. Alongside a large tower portfolio in Saudi Arabia, TAWAL owns assets in Pakistan, Slovenia, Bulgaria and Croatia.

Following the completion of the deal the new entity will own and operate 30,000 mobile tower sites with annual revenue of around $1.3 billion, the pair noted.  

PIF will have a 54 per cent share of the combined company, 43.1 per cent will be held by stc Group and the remainder by the current GLIC minority shareholders.  

stc Group chief investment officer Motaz Alangari said combining the two businesses was “a stepping-stone to consolidating the Saudi tower market and driving further efficiencies and operational excellence to deliver superior experiences and value for customers.”

Completion of the deal and creation of the new business are expected to be completed in the second half of 2024 subject to regulatory approval.