DUBAI - Emirates Telecommunications Group Company PJSC, now known as (e&), said on Saturday it has acquired a 9.8% stake in Vodafone for $4.4 billion.

The move came days after e& said it is looking to expand into new markets in Africa, Europe and Asia and in areas outside telecoms such as financial technology as its seeks to drive growth.

The United Arab Emirates-based telecommunications firm said it made the investment to gain "significant exposure to a world leader in connectivity and digital services".

UAE's e& has no intention to make an offer to buy Vodafone, saying it is fully supportive of the company's board and existing management team and its current business strategy.

"We see this investment as a good opportunity for e& and its shareholders as it will allow us to enhance and develop our international portfolio, in line with our strategic ambition," said CEO Hatem Dowidar.

The UAE firm recently separated its business into consumer services-focused e& life, and e& enterprise to provide digital services to government and business, and telecoms arm Etisalat, which its CEO said is the world's seventh largest by market capitalisation.

(Reporting by Shivani Tanna in Bengaluru and Saeed Azhar in Dubai; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)