U.S.-Israeli media magnate Haim Saban agreed to buy a controlling stake in Israel's second largest telecoms operator, Partner Communications
Saban Capital (Los Angeles, USA) will pay Israeli holding company Scailex Corp
Israel's mobile phone industry was turned upside down this year with the entry of six new operators, sparking a price war and leading to many customers switching companies.
Last month Bezeq Israel Telecom
Scailex began talks with Saban last month about a possible sale of Partner, which operates under the Orange brand.
Saban is familiar with the Israeli communications market, having been part of the group that controlled Bezeq from 2005 to 2009.
This familiarity brings with it an advantage at a strategic and at a regulatory level, Ilanit Sherf, an analyst at Israeli brokerage Psagot, said.
"Saban comes from the content side, another advantage to Partner on the eve of its entry into the multi-channel television market and its transformation from a cellular company into a communications company expected to supply several services," she said.
Harel Finance analyst Rami Rozen said the deal was positive for Partner's shareholders, as the company will benefit from a strong and well-connected owner.
Scailex - which held 44.5 percent of Partner - will keep 13.8 percent, while Saban will have 30.7 percent. Suny
Partner's shares closed up 3.3 percent to 25.47 shekels in Tel Aviv.
(Reporting by Maayan Lubell and Tova Cohen; Editing by Pravin Char and Louise Heavens)