The parent companies of Mobilink and Warid Telecom announced on Thursday that they had reached a merger agreement.

“We are delighted to announce the agreement with the Dhabi Group shareholders today to combine our businesses in Pakistan. With the addition of Warid to our already strong customer base at Mobilink, we will serve more than 45 million customers and offer a best-in-class mobile and high-speed data network – a key factor in the digital enablement of Pakistan’s economy. This transaction follows a number of strategic milestones for the company, including our recent joint venture announcement with WIND and 3 Italia in Italy and the agreement to sell our operations in Zimbabwe. This is yet another important step in our journey to continue delivering on our strategy to transform VimpelCom and improve our competitive position in our operating markets.” said Jean-Yves Charlier, Chief Executive Officer of VimpelCom, Mobilink’s parent company.

A joint press release issued by both companies says Mobilink will first acquire 100 per cent of Warid’s shares in consideration for the Dhabi Group (Warid’s parent company) shareholders acquiring approximately 15pc of Mobilink shares.

The merged entity will serve over 45 million mobile customers and will become the leading high-speed mobile network in Pakistan, claims the release.

The merger will create synergies worth $500m.

“The transaction is expected to close within six months from today, subject to obtaining approvals from the relevant authorities in Pakistan and the satisfaction of customary closing conditions,” reads the press release.

The board of the merged company will consist of seven directors, of whom six will be nominated by VimpelCom and GTH (Mobilink) and one nominated by the Dhabi Group shareholders. Upon successful completion of the transaction, Mobilink’s CEO Jeffrey Hedberg will become the CEO of the combined business and Mobilink’s CFO Andrew Kemp will become the CFO of the combined function.

“Creating the largest operator in Pakistan is a significant milestone for Mobilink and Warid but also for Pakistan as a whole. Both parties bring their unique strengths to this merger. Warid, with its strong post-paid base and high quality 4G/LTE network will complement Mobilink’s position in the market,” Dhabi Group Chairman Sheikh Nahyan Mubarak al Nahyan said.

Executives from both companies will address media personnel to give out more details on the agreement later in the day.

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