September 23, 2019 / 12:25 PM / a month ago

Saban says to give up controlling stake in Israel's Partner Comms

JERUSALEM, Sept 23 (Reuters) - U.S.-Israeli media magnate Haim Saban on Monday said he would give up his controlling stake in Israeli mobile phone operator Partner Communications after failing to secure better terms on a loan that he used to pay for the stake.

Saban bought a 30% stake in Partner, Israel’s second-largest mobile operator, from Scailex in 2013 using a $300 million loan from Hong Kong conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa. Repayment is due in January 2020 and Saban had used his holdings in Partner, Israel’s second largest mobile phone operator, as collateral for the loan.

In a filing with the U.S. securities regulator, Saban said his company, SB Israel Telecom, had been in discussions with debt owners regarding the loan’s terms.

“At this time, it is unlikely that any agreement will be reached between SB and the lenders, and the lenders may exercise their rights,” it said.

The value of Saban’s holdings in Partner have slid to 733 million shekels ($209 million), less than repayment of the loan. Partner’s market value stands at 2.4 billion shekels.

$1 = 3.5130 shekels Reporting by Steven Scheer; Editing by Tova Cohen

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