Cable companies look to buy Partner

Delek's investment subsidiary owns a 40% share in Matav, which is currently in the process of merging with Golden Channels and Tevel.

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.