Saudi Telecom considers offer for European operator United Group

London — Saudi Arabia’s STC Group is in the early stages of considering an offer for European telecom and pay-TV operator United Group, according to three people with knowledge of the potential deal.

UK buyout group BC Partners, which acquired United Group in 2019 from KKR, is working with advisers on a sale due to start in the coming weeks, two of the people said.

STC has started early stage work on a transaction, which may or may not result in a formal offer, a third person said.

A deal could value United Group at about €8bn including debt, one of the people said.

The sources, who requested anonymity as the matter is confidential, cautioned that a deal was not certain and may not happen.

Spokespeople for STC and BC Partners declined to comment.

If STC succeeds with a deal for United, it would further its expansion into the European telecom sector. In 2023 the kingdom’s largest telecom operator said it had acquired a 4.9% stake in Spain’s Telefonica, with the potential to increase it further to nearly 10%. STC’s subsidiary Tawal also in 2023 acquired United Group’s telecommunications tower assets in Bulgaria, Croatia and Slovenia.

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