012.Smile closes Bezeq deal

Bank Hapoalim will serve as the manager of the loan and will provide the 012.Smile with a shortterm loan of NIS 700 million.

By SHARON WROBEL
February 12, 2010 07:36
1 minute read.
Shaul Elovitch (right), whose Eurocom Communicatio

012 smile Elovitch Keinan 311. (photo credit: Courtesy)

 
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012.Smile Communications, a provider of telephone and Internet services, announced Thursday it has signed a NIS 3.9 billion financing agreement for the purchase of a controlling interest in Bezeq Israeli Telecommunication Corp., the country’s largest telecommunications provider.

The financing will be provided to the 012.Smile by a consortium led by Bank Hapoalim and is expected to include Bank Leumi le-Israel, Amitim (Senior Pension Funds), Israel Discount Bank, Mizrahi Tefahot Bank, HSBC, First International Bank of Israel and Union Bank.

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Bank Hapoalim will serve as the manager of the loan. In addition, it will provide the 012.Smile with a shortterm loan of NIS 700 million.

Last October, the ApaxSaban-Arkin Group agreed to sell its controlling 30.6 percent stake in Bezeq to 012.Smile for NIS 6.5b. To receive regulatory approval for the transaction, 012.Smile divested its telecommunications business at the beginning of February, selling it to a wholly owned subsidiary of Ampal-American Israel Corporation for NIS 1.2b.

The deal for Bezeq is expected to be completed in April, after which 012.Smile will become a telecommunications holding company with a 30.6% share of Bezeq as its sole holding.

012.Smile Communications is a 75.34%-owned subsidiary of Internet Gold – Golden Lines Ltd., which is controlled by businessman Shaul Elovitch’s Eurocom Communications, a privately held investment group.

Bezeq was founded in 1984 and was owned by the government until five years ago, when it was privatized and its controlling stake was bought by Apax-Saban-Arkin for NIS 4.2b.



As the largest telecommunication operator in Israel, Bezeq provides wired and wireless telephone and other communications services to consumer and business subscribers throughout Israel.

Bezeq has more than 2.5 million access lines and about 1 million broadband ASL lines. It also provides mobile services through its cellphone subsidiary, Pelephone Communications, to approximately 2,700,000 customers. It serves more than 560,000 YES satellitetelevision subscribers through its DBS Satellite subsidiary.

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