Haim Saban contacts Hutchison over Partner deal

Hutchison will be in no rush to agree to Saban's request to favorably consider spreading Ben-Dov's debt.

Haim Saban, who is in talks to buy control of Orange franchisee Partner Communications Ltd. (Nasdaq: PTNR; TASE: PTNR) has contacted former Chinese controlling shareholder Hutchison Whampoa Ltd. (HKSE: 0018) to discuss the deal and the debt situation. Sources inform "Globes" that Scailex Corporation (TASE: SCIX; Pink Sheets:SCIXF), through which Ilan Ben-Dov currently controls Partner, owes Hutchison $300 million.

Two months ago, Hutchison cancelled the deal by which it was due to reacquire control of Partner. Ben-Dov charged that cancellation of the deal caused him major damage and demanded compensation and hinted at taking legal action. Hutchison did not like this threat and it is believed that the Chinese company will be in no rush to agree to Saban's request to favorably consider spreading the debt if the deal goes ahead.

According to the outline of the deal being agreed between Saban and Ben-Dov, the acquisition will take place in stages and he will buy Scailex shares that Hutchison does not have a lien on as part of its debt from Scailex. In the second stage, Saban will inject capital into Partner and it is reasonable to assume that Hutchison can oppose the deal while the debt to it is not repaid, and could even demand immediate repayment of its debt.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on October 15, 2012

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2012

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