Space Communication of Israel Close to Sale of Company

Space Communication Ltd., an Israeli satellite operator, is close to announcing the outcome of a five-month sale process that will see a majority stake sold to new owners. The shares rose the most in almost two months.

“The new owner will be announced in the next few days once it has been signed,” Eyal Copitt, senior vice-president for sales for Africa, said in an interview in Johannesburg yesterday. “It will not affect the company. We remain the same company under the same name, different owner -- that’s all.”

Space Communication, also known as Spacecom, said in December it hired an investment bank to examine options after receiving expressions of interest in a takeover. The Ramat-Gan, Israel-based company said later that month it was considering non-binding offers. Spacecom operates four satellites providing broadband and broadcast services around the world.

The shares gained as much as 4 percent, the biggest intraday gain since April 3, and traded 2.3 percent higher at 67.12 shekels as of 5 p.m. in Tel Aviv, valuing the company at 1.4 billion shekels ($400 million). More than 42,000 shares traded, almost three times the daily average.

Josh Shuman, a spokesman for the company, declined to comment on the sale in an e-mailed response to questions.

Remote Villages

Spacecom’s Amos-5 satellite started providing services for Africa in 2012 and covers almost the whole continent. A lack of infrastructure for land telecommunications networks and the remote location of many towns and villages make satellite a more convenient option than fiber, according to Copitt.

“The Internet is now required in the village, the same way it is required in town,” he said. “People are splitting their time between their hometown and working town” and “cannot wait for Monday to check their mail, so we need communication wherever we are.”

Hispasat SA of Spain and Hong Kong-based Asia Satellite Telecommunications Holdings Ltd. are among the bidders for Spacecom, Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported on March 2. The company is controlled by businessman Shaul Elovitch’s Eurocom Group, it said.