Saban to grab another 2% stake in Partner Communications

25 Jan 2013

Israeli-American television and media proprietor Haim Saban, who last month was reported to have agreed to acquire a controlling stake in Israeli mobile network operator Partner Communications, looks set to acquire a further 2% holding in the operator. According to Reuters, Saban will buy the 2% stake from Leumi Partners, the investment arm of Bank Leumi, which is Israel’s second largest bank. While it is understood that Saban’s Israel Telecom unit will buy the 3.2 million shares in question, financial details of the transaction have not been formally disclosed, although local press reports have suggested that the shares will change hands at a price of ILS25 (USD6.7) per share; such a value means that the deal would be worth approximately ILS80 million. Bank Leumi acquired its current 4.99% stake in Partner in 2009 for ILS67 per share, and the financial institution is divesting the stake at a loss as part of plans to sell off its non-financial holdings.

As previously reported by CommsUpdate, last month saw the announcement that Saban Capital would pay ILS250 million to the Partner’s largest current shareholder, Israeli handset distributor Scailex Corp, for a 30.7% holding. The transaction will leave Scailex with a 13.8% stake, while its parent company, Suny Electronics, will retain its 1.4% direct holding in Partner. Under the terms of the deal, Saban Capital will also take on a USD300 million loan that Scailex owes to Hong Kong’s Hutchison Whampoa Limited (HWL). Earlier this week, Scailex reportedly secured approval for the deal from the Ministry of Communications, and the deal is now expected to be completed in the coming days.

Israel, Partner Communications Company