With Cellcom’s bid to acquire rival mobile network operator Golan Telecom having been rejected by both the Ministry of Communications (MoC) and the Israeli Antitrust Authority (IAA) last month, Haaretz reports that four groups have now expressed interest in buying the smaller cellco. One of the bidding groups includes Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich and start-up entrepreneur Oded Kobo, while a second is said to be led by two telecommunications industry veterans, those being former Pelephone CEO Gil Sharon and Shlomo Rodav, who has previously been chairman of both Bezeq and Partner Communications. While the identities of the other two bidding groups have not been revealed, sources suggest that none of the offers for Golan are above ILS300 million (USD78 million), significantly lower than the ILS1.2 billion Cellcom agreed to pay back in November 2015.
For its part, Golan Telecom is said to have indicated it is uninterested in any new offer, and is instead expected to fight the regulatory decision halting the deal with Cellcom, with the company cited as saying: ‘We remain in the agreement with Cellcom and are readying to make an appeal against the decision of the regulator. Therefore the matter [of counter-offers] isn’t relevant to the company.’