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Bezeq Yes merger blocked

Israel’s Supreme Court has blocked the merger of telco Bezeq and satellite pay-TV operator Yes as a result of anti-competitive fears.

Israel’s Antitrust Authority is now expected to give Bezeq and minority shareholder Eurocom a few months to end their partnership, which will likely result in Bezeq selling its stake to Eurocom, according to local press. Eurocom and Bezeq are seen as competitors in the telecom market by the authority. Eurocom, which holds a 32.6% stake in the DTH operator, also has a stake in cellular and broadband provider Smile. 

Bezeq, the country’s largest telecoms company, had planned to raise its stake in the satellite pay broadcaster from 49.8% to 58% but the Supreme Court upheld a decision from the country’s Antitrust Authority to stop the merger. 

The Antitrust Authority noted that the deal would be anti-competitive because Bezeq is also building a next generation network capable of launching an IPTV service.