Communications minister approves Bezeq takeover

David Amsalem

Searchlight Capital Partners and the Fuhrer will be allowed to control Bezeq parent company B Communications.

This morning, Minister of Communications David Amsalem signed the approval for the deal whereby the investor group led by private equity firm Searchlight Capital Partners and the Fuhrer family will acquire control of Bezeq Israeli Telecommunication Co. Ltd. (TASE: BEZQ) parent company B Communications. This follows confirmation by Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit that Amsalem could grant approval, even though Amsalem was not legally required to obtain Mandelblit's consent.

Searchlight agreed the acquisition of the controlling interest in B Communications, which directly holds 26.34% of Bezeq, several months ago. It later brought David Fuhrer into the deal as its Israeli partner for the purposes of obtaining a permit to control Bezeq. The deal required the minister of communications' approval, but Amsalem insisted on obtaining the go-ahead from the attorney general before signing, which led to concern that the deal might fall through.

Last week, B Communications CEO Ami Barlev wrote to Amsalem saying that any further delay in approving the deal was liable to cause irreparable damage to pension funds invested in securities of Bezeq, B Communications, and the latter's parent company Internet Gold. Searchlight itself said that it reserved the right to withdraw from the deal if it was not completed on schedule by November 24.

Today, Barlev said, "This is an important milestone in the completion of the deal that was achieved. We thank the team at the Ministry of Communications and the minister of communications for their thorough and professional work, for the benefit of the Israeli public."

Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on November 11, 2019

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2019

David Amsalem
David Amsalem
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