Cellcom looks set to face competition to purchase Golan Telecom after fellow Israeli operator Bezeq declared its interest in an acquisition.
Bezeq’s subsidiary Pelephone Communications submitted an offer of ILS710 million ($207 million) to acquire Golan. The offer was made on 16th Februray – the same day that Cellcom revealed that it was discussing an acquisition with Golan – and will expire on 15th April.
The move indicates that Bezeq anticipates more consolidation in the market and is looking to shore up its position. It may have an advantage over Cellcom, as the latter operator is in the middle of restructuring its business with the aim of cutting operating costs by ILS150 million before the end of the year – a process that has already resulted in staff being made redundant.
Cellcom made an attempt to acquire Golan in 2015 but it was thwarted by regulators due to fears that it could reduce competition in the market. Bezeq has stated that both its board and Golan’s would need to approve any deal, along with the Ministry of Communications and the Commissioner for Economic Competition.
The two rival bids for Golan Telecom may have been prompted by Altice Europe’s Hot Telecom approaching Partner Communications last month about a possible acquisition. If this proposal were accepted, it could boost competition in Israel by increasing Hot Mobile’s footprint in the market.