Vodafone agrees US$2.4 billion Egypt sale to STC 

Vodafone looks set to exit the Egyptian market with Saudi Telecom (STC) agreeing a deal to acquire the British telco’s 55% stake in Vodafone Egypt for US$2.4 billion.

Vodafone Egypt is the largest telco in the country, with Vodafone being the nation’s largest foreign investor. The operator has a market share of 44% of a country of more than 100 million people.

The deal will see STC acquire Vodafone’s 54.93% stake, while state-owned Telecom Egypt will keep a hold of its 44.94%. There is also a minority free float of 0.13%.

State-controlled STC, which is 70% owned by the Saudi government’s public investment fund, makes more than 90% of its revenue from its local market, and views Egypt as a strong region in which to expand. Seeking to reduce its dependence on oil, the kingdom is targeting digital revenue growth as a significant money maker.

STC CEO Nasser Sulaiman Al Nasser said: “The potential acquisition of Vodafone Egypt is in line with our expansion strategy in the MENA region. Vodafone Egypt is the leading player in the Egyptian mobile market and we look forward to contributing further to its continuing success.”

The sale of Vodafone Egypt is a part of an ongoing consolidation of Vodafone’s operations, having previously sold its Qatari business in 2018, its New Zealand business in 2019 and selling off or merging with businesses in other countries like India and the US.

Complemented by the high-profile €19 billion acquisition of Liberty Global’s businesses in Germany, Hungary, Romania and the Czech Republic, Vodafone is now only operating in Europe and sub-Saharan Africa.

Elsewhere, Vodafone has also cut its ties with Facebook’s stuttering cryptocurrency Libra. While the non-profit body overseeing the cryptocurrency initially drew investment from big names including Mastercard, Visa, eBay and Stripe, many of these companies have subsequently withdrawn, leaving the fledgling organisation with only 20 associated firms.

Vodafone instead said that it is focusing those resources on digital payment service M-Pesa, which currently operates in six African nations.

A spokesperson said: “We have said from the outset that Vodafone’s desire is to make a genuine contribution to extending financial inclusion. We remain fully committed to that goal.”

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