STC joins e& in eying up United Group 


A deal could value United Group at approximately €8 billion, including debt 


Saudi Arabia’s STC group is considering the takeover of European telecom and pay-TV operator United Group, according to a report from Reuters that cited three anonymous sources familiar with the discussions. 

The article confirmed that United Group’s owner, BC Partners, which acquired the company from KKR in 2019, is currently working with advisors to start a sale process in the coming weeks. 

If the transaction materialises, United Group could be split into “two different regions” to maximise value through two separate regional deals, the sources said.  

Discussions are still in the early stages and may not come to fruition.  

STC is not the only Middle Eastern telco to view United Group as a major European opportunity. Just last month it was rumoured that Abu Dhabi-based operator group e& was looking to expand into Europe by acquiring the company for a similar sum. At the time, sources said they expected the deal to be announced later this month, but so far a deal has failed to materialise. 

A deal with STC would appear fitting, as the company has been actively expanding its presence in Europe as part of its growth strategy. In April last year, the company made its first move into Europe through its tower subsidiary TAWAL, which inked a deal to acquire United Group’s telecommunications tower assets for €1.2 billion.  

“Our agreement with United Group represents an exciting new chapter for TAWAL and the wider STCGroup,” said STC Group CEO Olayan Alwetaid. 

“The agreement is a significant milestone in our ambitious growth strategy and the expansion of our international footprint,” he continued. 

Last September, the company then acquired a 9.9% interest in Telefónica, which has operations in Spain, Germany, the UK. 

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