British based billionaire Len Blavatnik has backed out of buying Israel's Channel 10 and high-tech entrepreneur Ilan Shiloah is reconsidering his position after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in one of his last actions as acting Minister of Finance raised the fee that must be paid for Channel 10's license and spoke of licensing new commercial channels.
Blavatnik's RGE Group announced yesterday that it was pulling out of its planned acquisition of Channel 10. RGE CEO Mudi Friedman said, “Channel 10 has taken steps to improve efficiency and has much improved its business thanks to its dedicated employees and management but its heavy debt, new regulatory requirements and regulatory uncertainty, worry our board, and we are regretfully forced to reject the deal."
Shiloah said, "I am reconsidering my position. At the last moment (Netanyahu signed on) a fine of NIS 16.8 million (and published) an announcement that he wants to open new channels and that he is going to break up Channel 2 into two channels. This will create a situation in which instead of two channels losing money, five channels will lose money."
Asked if only people like Sheldon Adelson will be able to invest in Channel 10, Shiloah said, "It's reasonable to assume that that's the type of person than can enter the industry - people for whom bringing NIS 100 million is not a lot of money. That needs to be someone like Sheldon Adelson not like me."
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on May 20, 2015
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