Cellcom, Golan Telecom Deal Clears Latest Hurdle


Israel’s Ministry of Finance approved the acquisition of Golan Telecom by rival Cellcom after concluding there were no substantial reasons to oppose the deal, business news outlet Globes reported.

The ministry noted after analysing the proposal, including the competition implications, it found no reason to object due to the “multiplicity and variety of players in the mobile telephony market”. The deal is yet to clear other regulatory steps, including gaining a green light from the country’s competition commission.

Israel is a competitive mobile market, with GSMA Intelligence Q1 figures showing four mobile providers had more than a million mobile connections. Three of these closely competed for leadership with bases of between 2.3 million and 2.8 million.

Golan Telecom was the fifth-largest with 849,000 connections, behind Altice’s Hot Mobile, Bezeq’s Pelephone, Partner and Cellcom.

In striking the ILS590 million (US$170.6 million) deal in February, Cellcom saw off a rival bid for the operator from Bezeq.

The announcement came at a time of rife speculation regarding consolidation in Israel’s mobile market, with Hot Mobile attempting to acquire Partner Communications, a bid eventually abandoned.

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