Golan network-sharing deal in sight for Cellcom

Israeli market leader Cellcom has reached “advanced stages of negotiations” over a network sharing and hosting arrangement with a group of investors considering an acquisition of Golan Telecom.

Cellcom is attempting to secure a figure between ILS200 million ($53 million) and ILS250 million over 10 years, which would deliver it ILS2.2 billion for the entire length of the agreement. The operator has stated that this amount would resolve “past national roaming payment differences with Golan.”

After the collapse of their proposed merger, Cellcom has given Golan its blessing to begin discussions with third parties over a potential sale, with local firm Marathon 018 Xfone among the interested parties. Cellcom is also holding talks with the firms in question.

Golan appears eager to close a deal before the scheduled payment of ILS600 million that it owes to Cellcom under a national roaming agreement which will expire in November.

Cellcom attempted to acquire Golan last year for ILS1.17 billion but the deal was stymied by regulatory opposition on the grounds that the market required more competition. Following this, Golan opened negotiations with mobile and cable TV provider Hot, but Cellcom claimed that this violated the terms of its agreement with Golan, claiming compensation under the threat of legal action.

The deal now appear close to completion, although any conclusion of talks will require the approval of Cellcom, its board, and the regulator, as well as the acquisition of Golan by one of the interested parties.

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