Saudi Telecom Co has postponed talks to raise debt to fund the acquisition of Vodafone Group Plc’s stake in its Egyptian business because of the coronavirus outbreak, according to people with knowledge of the matter.
Work on the acquisition is still continuing and the kingdom’s largest telecoms operator may resume negotiations with banks for a loan of more than $2 billion once things have settled, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private.
Talks started before the virus rapidly spread and shutdown a swathe of global economies, they said.
The company is also considering other financing options, one of the people said.
Saudi Telecom agreed in January to pay
$2.39 billion for Vodafone’s Egyptian business as part of an expansion outside its home market. Vodafone Egypt has a market share of about 44% of the North African country.
Barclays Plc is advising Saudi Telecom,
while Goldman Sachs Group Inc is working with Vodafone.