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Israeli government approves Bezeq, Yes merger

Israel’s government has approved a plan by Bezeq to take full control of satellite TV operator Yes after determining it would not harm competition in the multi-channel TV market.

The approval by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, acting as communications minister, came after Israel’s cable and satellite TV council said there was no reason to reject the deal, the Communications Ministry said.

Former state-owned monopoly Bezeq, Israel’s largest telecoms group, has long sought to merge with Yes to save costs and allow it to combine TV, phone and Internet into a triple play, which its main competitor, cable company Hot, already offers.

Bezeq, already a shareholder, said it would buy the remaining 50.2 per cent of Yes from Eurocom, a closely held company controlled by Shaul and Yosef Elovitch, who also control Bezeq. In February it said the deal was worth up to 1.05 billion shekels (€247 million).

Israel’s antitrust commissioner gave its permission for Bezeq to merge with Yes last year.

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