The Delek Group said on Sunday that the conglomerate of cable television companies, which operate as HOT, is exploring the possibility of buying a controlling stake in cellular company Partner. Delek's investment subsidiary owns a 40 percent share in Matav, which is currently in the process of merging with Golden Channels and Tevel.
Italian company Hutchison Telecommunications International Ltd. has 52.1% in Partner, which it is looking to sell. The Hebrew Press reported Sunday that Hutchison is asking as much as $750 million.
"At this early stage, we have neither concluded conditions for a deal or its structure," Delek said in a statement. "There is no certainty their will be an agreement and it's not known who which sides would participate."
A prospective merger between the cable companies and Partner would bring a second major group to the market to operate in competition to Bezeq, after Nochi Dankner's IDB Holdings increased his stake in Cellcom to 95% and bought a number of other telecommunications groups, including Barak 013 and Netvision.
Partner shares dropped less than 1 percent Sunday to close at NIS 39.05.