February 9, 2008 / 11:04 AM / 11 years ago

Saudi Telecom says finalizes $2.6 bln Oger deal

RIYADH (Reuters) - Saudi Telecom Co 7010.SE, the largest Arab telecom firm by market value, said on Saturday it had finalized a 9.6 billion riyal deal ($2.56 billion) to buy 35 percent of Oger Telecom.

“Saudi telecom has today signed a final agreement with Oger Telecom ... it is part of Saudi telecom’s efforts to expand its investments overseas,” the company said in a statement carried by the state news agency.

Gulf Arab telecom operators are expanding out of their home markets, where most have been riding a wave of economic growth spurred by a five-fold increase in oil prices since 2002.

Saudi Telecom lagged its regional rivals, making its first foreign acquisition only last year, when it bought 25 percent of Malaysia’s Maxis in a $3 billion deal that gave it access to India and Indonesia, the world’s second and fourth most populous countries.

Oger Telecom operates in Turkey, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Jordan, providing fixed-line, mobile and Internet services. Its parent, Saudi Oger, is a construction company controlled by the family of late Lebanese prime minister Rafik al-Hariri.

Writing by John Irish; Editing by

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