MoC approves Bezeq sale to Searchlight after withdrawal threat

11 Nov 2019

David Amsalem, the head of Israel’s Ministry of Communications (MoC), has approved the sale of domestic ISP Bezeq to US-based private investment firm Searchlight Capital – despite complaints over a lack of guidance from Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit. Globes quotes his correspondence as saying: ‘We are witnessing an awful situation in which shares and pension funds of innocent people are liable to suffer damage because of an irresponsible policy by many parties. Since the public good is more important to me than anything else and is at the head of my priorities, I will sign the sale in order to avoid damage to many worthy Israeli households.’

In May this year Searchlight and its local partner, David Forer, signed an agreement to acquire control of B Communications (BCOM), which holds 26.34% of the shares in Bezeq. The Tel Aviv District Court later approved the deal, after it won the support of the bondholders of BCOM and its current parent company, Internet Gold, which is in a state of bankruptcy.

Last week, Searchlight threatened to withdraw from the deal – which was agreed in the first half of this year – if it was not completed by 24 November.