French businessman Patrick Drahi’s bid to consolidate his control of Israeli telecoms company HOT Telecommunication Systems has taken a step forward following reports that he has acquired the bulk of shares in the company held by Fishman Holdings. According to Globes Online Drahi’s stake in the cableco now stands at 51.7% after his Cool Holdings Ltd unit purchased some 4.6 million shares from Fishman Holdings, representing around 6% of the company, at a price of ILS54.40 (USD14) per share; the total cost of the acquisition was around ILS249 million. Following the transaction Fishman Holdings’ stake in HOT fell to 3.6%, while under the terms of the deal made back in October 2010 its two representatives on the cableco’s board have also resigned. At the same time as the purchase it was also revealed that HOT had allotted Drahi 2% of the company in a private placement, with the Frenchman paying ILS83 million for 1.5 million shares in the cableco.
As previously reported by CommsUpdate, in October 2010 Drahi unveiled plans to become the controlling shareholder in HOT, having initially acquired Bank Leumi’s 15% holding in the operator for ILS381 million in May 2009. Alongside the deal to acquire HOT shares from Fishman Holdings, October 2010 also saw Drahi reveal he would buy a further ten million shares (13.2%) from Yediot Communications in June 2011 at ILS64 per share. Upon completion of the deal Drahi will own almost 66% of HOT shares, while Yediot Communications’ holding will fall to 6.61%.