The Ministry of Communications last week gave final approval for the merger of the cellular networks of Cellcom Israel Ltd. (NYSE:CEL; TASE:CEL), Golan Telecom Ltd., and 018 Xfone. At the same time, the Ministry of Communications approved the merger between Electra Consumer Products (TASE: ELEK) and Golan Telecom.
Following the approval, the Electra Consumer and Golan Telecom shareholders are expected to give final approval for the merger soon, giving Electra Consumer control of Golan Telecom.
After the acquisition is completed, Golan Telecom's measures under its new ownership will be tensely awaited to see whether it attempts to regain the momentum it lost in recent months, after it became clear that the company was up for sale. New momentum means more intense competition, with everyone eager to see what Gil Sharon, who will manage the company until its business stabilizes, will do.
The Antitrust Authority approved the deal under certain restrictions, after which the Ministry of Communications approved it, as it had been expected to do when the Antitrust Authority opposed the merger between Golan Telecom and Cellcom.
Now that Golan Telecom has been disposed of, the market will wait to see what businessman Hezi Bezalel does, and whether he will enter the market, as he promised he would do when the unification of networks with Cellcom is approved. Bezalel has a lot to lose if he does not enter the market (tens of millions of shekels in guarantees deposited at the Ministry of Communications), and is therefore expected to enter the market, meaning that there will be six operators with cellular networks in the cellular market, in addition to a number of virtual operators.
Published by Globes [online], Israel Business News - www.globes-online.com - on March 19, 2017
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