Israel’s Partner Communications is reportedly likely to reject the offer made for 100% of its share capital by HOT Telecommunication Systems submitted last month, and has instead initiated its own approach for the possible acquisition of another player, Golan Telecom. According to Globes Online, Partner’s decision to open talks with Golan Telecom comes after a decision by its board of directors to explore all options following Altice Europe-owned HOT’s unsolicited offer.
Potentially complicating matters with regards to the approach for Golan Telecom, however, is the fact that rival mobile network operator (MNO) Cellcom is already in talks to buy that company. As Golan Telecom already shares network infrastructure with Cellcom, this could serve as a barrier to a Partner/Golan deal, while the report also notes that a further possible hinderance is that Golan might also be required to pay a ILS600 million (USD175 million) fine to Cellcom, should a deal with Partner come to fruition.
Amid this flurry of possible merger action in the Israeli telecoms sector, it has been suggested that Israel Competition Authority and Ministry of Communications are only likely to approve one tie-up, with the authorities thought also to be less inclined to sanction a merger between two of the market’s larger players, such as HOT and Partner.