DUBAI- Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF), the country's sovereign wealth fund, is considering selling part of its 70% stake in Saudi Telecom Co (STC) while retaining majority ownership, the state fund said on Thursday.
STC is Saudi Arabia's largest telecoms operator and also owns subsidiaries and has stakes in companies operating in Kuwait, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Turkey.
STC's shares are up nearly 20% so far this year, closing at 127 riyals ($33.86) on Thursday, based on Refinitiv data.
"The potential transaction is expected to contribute to PIF's establishment and development of new sectors, in addition to strengthening the Saudi economy's growth and diversifying its sources of income," PIF said in a statement.
PIF, the main engine of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's Vision 2030 to wean the economy off oil, said it had appointed Goldman Sachs, HSBC, Morgan Stanley and SNB Capital to advise on the deal.
The planned transaction will target international and local institutional investors, as well as retail investors, PIF said, adding it would maintain a majority stake of more than 50% in the company.
Sources had told Reuters about the divestment plan in June.
Saudi Telecom's shares gained nearly 2% on Thursday after the company's unit, Solutions by STC 7202.SE , surged nearly 30% on its first day of trading amid a rush of initial public offerings.
($1 = 3.7507 riyals)
(Writing by Alexander Cornwell and Davide Barbuscia Editing by Jane Merriman) ((Alexander.Cornwell@thomsonreuters.com;))