Qtel plans to increase its stake in Asiacell

Qtel being advised on acquisition of 19% stake in Asiacell from MerchantBridge
Qtel hopes to increase its stake in Iraqi operator Asiacell.
Qtel hopes to increase its stake in Iraqi operator Asiacell.


Qtel, Qatar’s incumbent telecom operator, plans to buy out a private equity partner's stake in its Iraqi affiliate, Asiacell, before offering shares in the company to the public, according to a report from Reuters.

Qtel, which has a 30% stake in Asiacell, plans to buy out the 19% stake in Asiacell that is currently owned by UK firm, MerchantBridge, two banking sources told Reuters.

The sources added that a sale of MerchantBridge's stake was likely to occur before Asiacell’s IPO. Each of Iraq’s three GSM operators is due to stage an IPO in 2012.

Morgan Stanley is advising Qtel, while MerchantBridge is being advised by Credit Suisse, the report added.

In October, Asiacell appointed HSBC and Morgan Stanley to manage its IPO.

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