UAE: Telecom major e& denies acquiring a stake in United Group

e& Group’s telecom vertical, e& UAE (formally known as etisalat by e&), was this week named the strongest brand by Brand Finance in the Middle East


Waheed Abbas

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Published: Thu 2 May 2024, 4:49 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 May 2024, 4:50 PM

The UAE’s telecom giant e& on Thursday denied media reports that it is trying to acquire United Group, a multi-play telecoms and media provider in Southeast Europe.

“In response to media reports speculating on e&’s potential acquisition of United Group BV, we confirm that e& has not entered into any negotiation or agreement in respect of United Group BV’s assets. However, consistent with our corporate strategy, e& continually reviews relevant market opportunities with the objectives of maximising shareholder value,” the company said in a statement on Thursday.

e& Group’s telecom vertical, e& UAE (formally known as etisalat by e&), was this week named the strongest brand by Brand Finance in the Middle East, boasting a Brand Strength Index score of 89.4/100 and an AAA rating. This also makes it the world’s strongest telecoms brand.

“Thriving under the larger technology group, the telecom operator has expanded into new markets through its Partner Market programme and strategic acquisitions. Substantial investments have also been made in communication campaigns to promote brand awareness and the brand’s transformation from a traditional telco into a global tech company. e&, as a standalone brand, is now the Middle East’s fastest-growing tech brand, up 52 per cent,” said Brand Finance.

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The company reported consolidated revenue of Dh14.2 billion, growing 9 per cent year-over-year, while consolidated net profit increased to Dh2.3 billion, a year-over-year growth of 7 per cent.

Companies in UAE enjoy strong liquidity on the back of strong growth in the economy in the post-pandemic period, pushing them to explore new avenues and look for inorganic growth.

In 2023, the UAE reported two out of the three highest M&A acquisitions in the Middle East and North Africa, according to data released by EY.

The region’s largest M&A deal of the year was the acquisition of Univar Solutions by Apollo Global Management and Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (Adia) for $8.2 billion. This was followed by the acquisition of the US mobile games developer Scopely, Inc. by Saudi sovereign wealth fund PIF-owned Savvy Games Group for $4.9 billion, and the acquisition of the UAE’s Cvent Holding by Blackstone and ADIA for $4.7 billion closing the top three.


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