JERUSALEM, Israel (Reuters) – Israel’s biggest cable operator, Clearstream Corp, said on Monday it had bid for a majority stake in the DVR unit of Clearstream Communications, the largest provider of TV, broadband and satellite TV in Israel.
The DVR company is the backbone of the Israeli TV and radio industry, supplying channels such as Channel 1 and Channel 3.
In its bid, ClearStream said it was willing to pay $5 billion to acquire a 40 percent stake in DVR from a private Israeli company, which will have the rights to stream DVR content.
A Clearstream spokesman declined to comment on the offer, which was reported by the Wall Street Journal and the Israel Broadcasting Corporation (IBC).
The bid was not disclosed publicly, but the company had previously raised $2.5 billion in private financing and had about $400 million in cash on hand.
The bid represents a further boost for the company in a country where Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has pushed for expanding the country’s satellite TV market.
Clearstream’s proposal follows a $2 billion sale last year to Israel’s largest telecoms group, TekSavvy, for a controlling stake in a separate satellite TV company.
Tel Aviv is one of the world’s fastest-growing cities, with more than 200 million people, but it is still struggling to connect to the internet and pay for basic services such as cable TV.
More than half of Israel’s households do not have access to broadband, and the government has been trying to make cable TV services more affordable.
Last year, Tel Aviv’s mayor, Ron Huldai, pushed for a government-backed broadband network, saying the lack of such networks was a serious impediment to economic growth.
But Clearstream is the only operator with a satellite TV network, a fact that has drawn criticism from Tel Aviv and the United States.