November 11, 2019 / 12:06 PM / 2 months ago

Israeli regulator approves Searchlight taking control of Bezeq Tel

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Bezeq Israeli Telecommunication Corp Ltd, the country's largest telecom group, is seen outside their headquarters in Tel Aviv, Israel June 21, 2017. REUTERS/Amir Cohen/File Photo

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel’s Communications Minister has approved the sale of a controlling share in the country’s largest telecom group, Bezeq (BEZQ.TA), to the foreign private investor group Searchlight Capital Partners, Bezeq’s parent company said on Monday.

Searchlight, which has offices in New York, London and Toronto, has offered to inject 640 million shekels ($183 million) into B Communications (BCOM.TA) to take over its 26.34% controlling stake in Bezeq.

BCom said the communications minister earlier in the day signed the new control permit for Searchlight to take over Bezeq.

“This is the most important milestone for the completion of the transaction,” said BCom CEO Ami Barlev, according to a regulatory filing in the U.S. and Tel Aviv.

Bezeq has undergone a reorganization over the past year following a securities investigation into its management and owners that forced out its former chairman and chief executive.

The company remains the dominant telecoms group in Israel, providing phone and internet infrastructure, while owning three units — mobile phone operator Pelephone, satellite TV firm YES and internet service provider Bezeq International.

Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch; Editing by Steven Scheer

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