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Matav ends talks with Yes TV, bows to Communications Ministry objections

Antitrust commissioner did not rule out alliance that would have shored up shaky Yes

On January 10 Matav Cable Systems (Nasdaq:MATV) announced it was making an early assessment of its possible co-operation with Yes satellite TV. Today the company announced it has changed its decision, and is no longer considering any such co-operation in light of objections from the Communication Ministry.

Matav is the smallest of the three Israeli cable companies, and provides less that 25% of the multi-channel TV services in the country. In the last few days Communications Minister Reuven Rivlin expressed his objection to the idea, which he believes would kill the ministry¿s efforts to create competition between the merged cable companies and Bezeq.

Antitrust Commissioner Dror Strum also objected to the agreement between Matav and Yes, although he did not rule out such an alliance. Strum appreciated the fact that the combination would have shored up the shaky satellite company, and created real competition in the multi-channel television market (between Yes-Matav and a merged Tevel-Golden Channels).

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