Israeli operator Cellcom reportedly entered talks to acquire local rival Golan Telecom, a move which could scupper a possible merger between Altice Europe’s Hot Mobile and Partner Communications.
Business publication Globes reported Cellcom was prompted to explore a possible merger with Golan Telecom after it emerged Iliad-owned Hot Mobile was interested in Partner Communications.
A tie-up between the latter pair could significantly boost Altice’s presence in Israel, increasing competition with Cellcom.
However, Cellcom’s interest in Golan Telecom changes the situation.
Sources told Globes Israel’s Competition Authority and Ministry of Communications would only likely be willing to approve one merger, with a Cellcom, Golan Telecom tie-up deemed to be more acceptable to regulators.
The size of any deal between Hot Mobile and Partner Communications offers the potential to create a much bigger company than a combined Cellcom, Golan Telecom, with the former less of a threat to competition. Cellcom and Golan Telecom would be also make more sense as the companies currently share a network.
Cellcom tried to acquire Golan Telecom in 2015, but regulators opposed the move, as the government was trying to boost competition in the market at the time.Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back