Saudi Telecom Company (STC) is reportedly interested in submitting an offer for European telecom and pay-TV operator United Group BV.

As reported by Reuters, two sources have noted that UK buyout group BC Partners, which acquired United Group in 2019 from KKR, is working with advisors on a sale which is due to start in the next few weeks.

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A third source told the publication that STC has commenced work on a potential transaction.

A deal could value United Group around €8 billion ($8.7bn) including debt.

On the telecoms side, United Group operates Serbia Broadband in Serbia; Telemach in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro and Slovenia; Nova in Greece; and Vivacom in Bulgaria.

Notable investors in the company include founder Dragan Šolak, BC Partners, and KKR.

The reported interest from STC could create a battle with Abu Dhabi-based telco e&, which was also linked with a potential takeover of United Group last month.

However, STC previously struck a deal with United Group, when last year it agreed to acquire United Group's tower infrastructure through its tower infrastructure unit Tawal.

Tawal acquired United Group's mobile tower infrastructure unit in Bulgaria, Croatia, and Slovenia in August in a deal worth $1.34 billion.

The telco has also more notably acquired a 9.9 percent stake in Spanish telco Telefónica. This prompted the Spanish government to take a 10 percent stake in Telefónica and become its biggest shareholder.