Partner in early acquisition talks with 012 Smile.Communications

10 Sep 2009

Israel’s Partner Communications is reportedly in preliminary talks to acquire 012 Smile.Communications, a subsidiary of the Eurocom Group, according to Globes Online. It is believed that Partner CEO David Avner initiated contact with Shaul Elovitch, who runs Eurocom Group, about a possible deal, and it is understood that Partner has already commenced an in-depth study of the potential transaction. Such a deal would fit in with Elovitch’s desire to acquire Bezeq, with any sale of the Smile unit freeing up Eurocom to make an offer for the Israeli incumbent. Additionally, for Partner the deal would facilitate an entry to the fixed line, international call and high speed internet sectors, while also enabling significant cost savings and providing a boost to revenues and profitability. The move is thought to have been prompted by the recent change in ownership at Partner after Israeli handset distributor Scailex Corp agreed to purchase Hutchison Telecommunications International’s (HTIL’s) 51.31% stake last month; previously Partner had reportedly been hindered from pursuing Smile while under HTIL’s control.