UAE-based Emirates Telecommunication Corporation (Etisalat) has pulled out of acquiring Kuwait’s Zain following a series of setbacks.

The deal, worth $12bn for a 46 per cent stake, would have been the largest acquisition in the Gulf since petrochemicals major Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (Sabic) acquired the US’ GE Plastics for $11.6bn in 2007.

In a statement to the press, Etisalat cited the due diligence results, political turmoil in the region and the absence of a consensus between Zain’s shareholders as reasons for withdrawing from the deal.

Etisalat launched its original bid in September 2010 offering $6.1 per share. The 15 January deadline for the due diligence results was not met due to “a lack of information” from Zain.

On 14 March 2011, Zain accepted a joint bid from Bahrain’s Batelco and Saudia Arabia’s Kingdom Holding Company to buy its Saudi Arabian operations. Its acceptance indicated a move to comply with Saudi Arabia’s regulations to pave the way for the group takeover.