Israel telecom operator Xfone 018 Ltd. Announced today that it is selling its operations to mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) Free Telecom, which is owned by the Reichman family. The sale follows a dispute between XFone and Cellcom over their continued cooperation. The deal worth NIS 330 million will bring all Xfone's customers to the Reichman family, which will continue operating Free Telecom under the X2One brand. Following the announcement Cellcom Israel Ltd. (NYSE:CEL; TASE:CEL) share price rose 7% and Partner Communications Co. Ltd. (Nasdaq: PTNR; TASE:PTNR) rose over 5%.
Xfone owner Hezi Bezalel will need permission from the courts to complete the sale because of the legal suits that the company is conducting. Xfone also has Internet, landline and international calls activity as well as its cellular operations.
The news of the sale came as a complete surprise to Cellcom, which did not conduct any negotiations with Free Telecom over future cooperation and allowing it to use its network. Cellcom will likely try to torpedo the deal although Xfone is entitled to sell its operations.
Cellcom said, "Xfone has been violating its cooperation agreement with Cellcom for many months and has not been paying for using its network. Cellcom has not received the requests thaqt Xfone claims it has submitted to the court but the existing cooperation agreement with Xfone also binds any future buyer."
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on June 15, 2021
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