(MENAFN - Arab News) The Dutch investment firm Sahara International Ventures NV (SIV) has acquired a majority stake in Saudi Arabia's leading Internet service provider, Sahara Net, for an undisclosed figure.
SIV is a joint venture between major Belgian telecom operator Belgacom NV/SA and Pantheres Investments BV, the former majority shareholder of Dutch ISP Scarlet NV. The acquisition is in line with SIV's current strategy to expand in growing markets within the Middle East-North Africa region and support and improve existing operations.
Sahara Net is Saudi Arabia's leading ISP. It was founded by Haitham Abu-Aisha and Kais Al-Essa in 1989. The company offers a comprehensive array of services including Internet leased lines, VPN, MPLS, managed services and Web hosting - all offered throughout its Saudi branches in Riyadh, Jeddah, Dammam, Jubail, Yanbu and Abha.
In an interview earlier this year with Arab News, Abu-Aisha noted Sahara Net's alliance with German business software giant SAP and said it was a boon for the ISP's business customers
"Sahara Net offers its clients many technical options to meet their dedicated or shared hosting needs in addition to advanced security solutions that meet the security standards of modern financial institutions," Abu-Aisha told Arab News. As for the acquisition by SIV, he hinted that changes were on the horizon.
"They have many ideas and plans," Abu-Aisha said of SIV. "All I can say is that we have something new and big for the market."
Belgacom, SIV's majority shareholder, posts annual net revenues of 6 billion euros. Pantheres Investments BV, SIV's minority stakeholder, ran Scarlet NV until its acquisition by Belgacom in 2008. SIV is headquartered in Lelystad, the Netherlands.
By Siraj Wahab