Government publishes tender for 50.01% stake in Bezeq

Hopes to get at least $2 billion for the controlling interest in the national phone company
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Government publishes tender for 50.01% stake in Bezeq phone company The government published today a tender for its 50.01% stake in state-run phone company Bezeq, in what will be Israel's largest-ever privatization.

"The government of Israel through the Government Companies Authority hereby announces that it is considering selling by way of private sale the State of Israel's holding in Bezeq," said the sales announcement, which was published in Israeli and foreign newspapers on Tuesday.

The deadline for submission of applications is February 13, 2002.

The government hopes to get at least $2 billion for its stake in Bezeq, which holds monopolies in local phone and high-speed Internet services. Bezeq, one of Israel's largest companies, also has significant stakes in mobile phone operator Pelephone and satellite TV provider YES.

The Government Companies Authority, which is in charge of privatizing state companies, will hold a roadshow for the next 90 days to present the company to potential buyers.

The government has gradually eased requirements on buyers in recent months. At first, it only wanted foreign phone companies, or so-called strategic investors.

But as interest has been weak, the government also included financial investors from Israel and abroad.