Thursday deadline nears for Bezeq sale

27 Oct 2004

Companies interested in acquiring a minimum 30% in Israeli fixed line incumbent have until Thursday to make their interest known. Three groups have so far thrown their hats into the ring; private equity firm Apax Partners; a consortium of Russian media magnet Vladimir Gusinsky and Maariv Holdings; and Packard Bell founder Benny Alagem. Israeli media have also reported that that media mogul Haim Saban, Israeli investment house IDB Holding and business man David Azreli are interested. The question on analysts’ lips is how much Bezeq will be valued at; some maintain regulatory uncertainty connected to the September liberalisation of the fixed line market will damage valuations. Since the market has been opened up, alternative operators such as the cable company Hot Telecom have been permitted to enter the market offering a host of bundled products.