Demand is a condition for IDB acquisition of Bezeq. Strum: Dankner must resign from Cellcom

Nochi Dankner will be required to sell his holdings in Barak, Netvision and Globecall before he can acquire controlling interest in Bezeq. The decision, made by Antitrust Authority Director David Strum, was based on the concern that acquisition of controlling interest in Bezeq by Dankner, who already holds a controlling interest in Barak, Netvision, Globe call and Cellcom, via IDB Holdings, would harm competition in the telecommunications market.

Regarding Dankner’s holdings in Cellcom, the antitrust director revealed more understanding and is considering whether to allow Dankner to transfer these holdings to a third party trust. The authority notes that the issue of trusteeship comprises a default option for them if no decision, or even principles, have been reached.

The Antitrust Authority is aware of the difficulties faced by Dankner should he wish to sell Cellcom within a short period of time, and is, therefore, examining the possibility of allowing him to retain his holding in the company via a third party trust. Even in this case, however, the Authority clarifies that the term would be limited and would not absolve Dankner from selling these holdings.

Dankner and IDB currently have two options. The first is to sell its holdings in companies competing with Bezeq in the field of telecommunications (such as Cellcom), and take part in the controlling group that would contend for Bezeq in the privatization bid. Another option is to increase its holdings in Cellcom in order to gain control and merge other IDB holdings in telecommunications to create a dominant telecommunications group. The second option would leave IDB without a line infrastructure to the customers’ homes.

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