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Reshet, Ten merger cancelled

The proposed merger between Israeli commercial broadcasters Reshet 13 and Channel Ten has been called off.

Reshet shareholders have called a halt to the move due to the length of time they have had to wait for regulatory approval for the deal.

Confirming the merger would not go ahead, an announcement from Reshet today blamed the Second Authority’s failure to make a decision and said the network was returning to normal operations that had been halted during the merger proceedings.

The move to bring together Ten with Reshet’s Channel 13 was first mooted back in June, but approval was required from the country’s Antitrust Commissioner. A scheduled hearing was expected to take several months, something Reshet described as “torpedoing” the plans.

“A company cannot continue for a long time with uncertainty, let alone a television channel committed to planning future productions,” the Reshet statement said.

“Unfortunately, despite great appreciation and cooperation between the shareholders of Network 13 and Channel 10 in recent months, and despite the understanding that the merger of the two channels is the best solution for the Israeli television market, the shareholders are forced to announce the cancellation of the merger and return to the full operation of Channel 13.

“We still believe the right solution for the local TV market is to combine forces, but with a heavy heart we have reached the point where we must look at reality.”

Speculation has persisted for some time that some form of rationalisation could be coming, after a major change last November saw Channel 2 co-franchisees Reshet and Keshet launch their own standalone networks. Reshet 13 has lagged in the ratings behind Keshet 12 ever since, with Channel 10, owned by RGE, also behind in attracting audiences.

Under the reported deal, Reshet, led by investors Udi Angel, Idan Ofer, Strauss Group and Endemol Shine, would have taken a 60% stake in the merged company. RGE, owned in equal shares by Len Blavatnik, the Recanati family and Aviv Giladi, would have taken the remaining share.

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