Israeli Telcos Surge as Golan Hires Bank to Explore Sale

  • Cellcom and Partner make biggest gains on TA-100 index
  • Ministry of Communications seen amenable to deal in sector

Israeli telecommunication shares soared after Golan Telecom Ltd., one of the largest companies in the sector whose entry into the market helped slash prices, said it hired an investment bank to explore a sale.

Cellcom Israel Ltd. jumped 15.5 percent, the most in nearly six weeks, to 26.85 shekels at the close of trading in Tel Aviv. Partner Communications Company Ltd. rose 11.8 percent, while Bezeq Israeli Telecommunication Corp. gained 0.6 percent. Golan said it is considering a possible sale, acquisition or merger, according to an e-mailed statement from the company.

Declining Revenues in Israel's Telco Price War
Declining Revenues in Israel's Telco Price War

“This is huge,” Ilanit Sherf, head of research at Psagot Investment House Ltd. in Tel Aviv, said by phone. “With a sale or merger, there will be less competition and the companies will be able to raise prices. The process will
take some time but it seems pretty reasonable that the Ministry of Communications will support such a move.”

Israeli mobile operators have been smarting for years as average cellphone bills have dropped considerably with the entry of new companies into the sector. Golan has about 850,000 customers, the statement read, about one third of Cellcom’s tally, the largest in the country.

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