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Exploring E& and PPF Group Potential Strategic Alliance

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Talks of a potential strategic alliance between E& and PPF Group surfaced on Monday – a development that aligns with E&’s increasing ambition to infiltrate the European markets. A statement by the UAE-based telecoms company, however, clarified the discussions weren’t far along, and the markets would be kept informed about any major developments. Persistent speculations about the expansion plan of the company do hint at something exciting on the horizon.

The dialogue between E& and PPF Group indeed has a compelling backdrop. PPF Group, after the €2.8 billion procurement of Telenor’s assets in Hungary, Bulgaria, Montenegro, and Serbia in March 2018, has fortified its standing in the European telecoms sphere. Despite separating its retail telecoms businesses from infrastructure and selling off its Montenegro operation – the company, with its acquisition of O2 in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, maintains its intention of becoming a mid-sized European telecom operator.

Such a profile makes PPF Group a promising match for E&, which is keenly exploring expansion outside its home turf, with Europe being a prime target. The focus so far has been E&’s deepening relationship with Vodafone. After consistently increasing its stake since May of last year, E& embarked on a strategic partnership with the telecom giant two months ago. E& is now Vodafone’s most significant shareholder with a spot on the board and a commitment to cooperate with the operator across diverse service and technology domains.

The possibility of E& seeking a similar arrangement with PPF Group might not be far-fetched, given the adjacent retail telecoms operating footprint E& shares with Vodafone. However, the metamorphosis of E& since its rebranding from Etisalat Group last year hints at more extensive interests beyond telecoms.

E& believes its new name best symbolizes its new identity as a global tech firm and investment conglomerate – not merely a telecom provider. Although the company still aims for a stronger presence in telecom, it is also expanding into digital services and exploring investments in new business domains.

PPF Group, true to this spirit, is more than just a telecom company, too. It’s an international investment company, operating in more than 25 countries including North America, Asia, Europe, and Africa, with principal business lines in financial services, telecom, media, and e-commerce.

Given these multidimensional corporate identities, there’s a possibility of multiple areas of overlap for E& and PPF Group. Any significant alignment could lead to an exciting collaboration announcement in the foreseeable future.

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