Israel sells remaining 1 pct of Bezeq Telecom for $43 million

JERUSALEM Thu Feb 20, 2014 11:16am EST

JERUSALEM Feb 20 (Reuters) - Israel sold its remaining 0.97 percent stake in Bezeq, the country's largest telecoms group, to an unnamed buyer for 150.7 million shekels ($43 million).

The Finance Ministry said on Thursday it sold 26.4 million shares of Bezeq Israel Telecom at 5.707 shekels a share, a 0.3 percent premium to Bezeq's average share price in the last week.

The state had turned to institutional investors and received six offers, it noted.

As part of a privatisation drive a decade ago, in 2005 Israel sold a controlling 30 percent stake in Bezeq - a former government monopoly - for 4.2 billion shekels to a group led by media mogul Haim Saban and private equity firm Apax Partners. In 2008, they raised their stake to 40.66 percent and began to sell that stake a year later.

Bezeq is now owned by B Communications with a 30.90 percent stake while 69 percent is traded on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. Its shares rose 2 percent to 5.88 shekels on Thursday.

($1 = 3.5075 Israeli shekels) (Reporting by Steven Scheer)