Cellcom Seeks Liquidation of Golan Telecom

A Cellcom service station in Yerushalayim. (Lior Mizrahi/Flash90)
A Cellcom service station in Yerushalayim. (Lior Mizrahi/Flash90)

Cellcom, Israel’s largest mobile-phone-network operator, has set its sights on liquidating Golan Telecom, claiming that the rival company owes it $156 million for using its network.

Cellcom submitted a request for an interim liquidator to a Tel Aviv court on Tuesday, according to Reuters.

Golan was launched in 2012 when the government issued new licenses to promote competition in a market that had until then been dominated by only three players.

A spokesman for Golan, owned by French businessmen Michael Golan and Xavier Niel, the majority owner of French telecoms group Iliad, would not comment on the matter.

Golan wrested about 10 percent of Israel’s mobile market from the big three by undercutting their prices.

Cellcom tried to buy Golan for about $300 million last year, but Israel’s regulators opposed the purchase, arguing such a deal ran contrary to its efforts to introduce more competition to the market by having more networks.

Efforts to find another buyer have been unsuccessful as well. Speculation recently centered on Elco Holdings, together with former Pelephone Communications CEO Gil Sharon, but sources say that no purchase was in the offing at this time.

Cellcom said it could not predict what the court would decide on its liquidation request, or how it would affect its efforts to collect the money it says it is owed by Golan.

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