Pele-Phone and Suny Electronic (TASE:SUNY) are scheduled to sign an agreement by web-posting today, under which Suny will sell to Pele-Phone its 49% stake in cellular Internet company, GoNext, for NIS 40 million.
The agreement will bring to a close the companies' bitter 18-month struggle over GoNext that broke out when Yacov Gelbard became CEO of Pele-Phone.
Pele-Phone owns 51% of GoNext. Pele-Phone and Suny founded the venture three years ago, and it has enjoyed considerable professional success. GoNext's technology was developed by Samsung (KSE:00830), which Suny represents in Israel. GoNext was basically a combination of Samsung technology with Pele-Phone's network.
When Gelbard took up his post, he and Pele-Phone deputy CEO Gil Sharon developed a strategy to set up an in-house cellular portal, which competed against GoNext. The result was a struggle between the two companies, during which Suny Electronics CEO Ilan Ben-Dov refused to sell Suny's stake in GoNext at the price Pele-Phone was prepared to pay.
GoNext CEO Herzl Ozer resigned a few weeks ago. He had supported Suny in the dispute, and has an outstanding claim to shares in GoNext. Ben-Dov gave up his holding in GoNext in exchange for the return of his investment.
GoNext's board of directors meeting Sunday appointed Pele-Phone VP added value services Ilan Agam as acting GoNext CEO. After acquiring GoNext, Pele-Phone will use the company as its platform for content services, using the MMS platform it bought from SK Telecom (KSE:17670), effectively making GoNext Pele-Phone's content division.
GoNext is Israel's largest Internet company, with almost 400,000 subscribers.
Published by Globes [online] - www.globes.co.il - on October 29, 2002