Israeli conglomerate Elco Holdings has joined the race to acquire mobile operator Golan Telecom, it emerged over the weekend.
Unnamed sources cited by Globes on Sunday claimed that Elco co-CEO Daniel Salkin is on close terms with former Pelephone CEO Gil Sharon, who is also interested in taking over Golan. According to the report, the two are thought to be considering a joint bid for the company.
The other group in the running is led by Hezi Bezalel, owner of fixed-line operator 018 Xfone.
Meanwhile, market leader Cellcom confirmed last week that it has given Golan Telecom permission to negotiate a possible sale to either group.
Cellcom had agreed to acquire 100% of Golan Telecom for ILS1.17 billion (€277.6 million) in November 2015, but it failed to secure regulatory backing. The proposed transaction made provision for the continuation of the operators’ network-roaming arrangement; however, Golan Telecom tried to pursue a separate network deal with Hot Mobile instead, effectively breaking its pact with Cellcom.
Cellcom successfully petitioned the courts to block Golan’s proposed Hot deal, so now Golan is on the hunt for a buyer.
With Cellcom and Golan technically still bound by some of the terms of their failed merger, Golan needed Cellcom’s permission to start negotiations with other parties. That permission has now been granted.
“The company cannot estimate the results of any of the above-mentioned negotiations and whether such negotiations shall mature into an agreement,” said Cellcom, in a statement last week.