The Israeli communications ministry has delayed its sign off of the sale of satellite operator Spacecom to Hungarian IT and telco firm 4iG.
Announced in October, the deal will see 4iG and its two subsidiaries – Hungaroo DigiTel and CarpathiaSat – acquire a 51% majority stake in the Israeli satellite operator. 4iG agreed to invest $68m in the company.
The deal may however be derailed due to concerns over ties between 4iG and prime minister Viktor Orban.
According to local outlet The Jerusalem Post, concerns have been raised by the Israeli security agency Shin Bet about a foreign company controlling Spacecom’s Amos satellites, which are also used by Israel’s security services.
Hungarian officials have refuted the allegations, and said that it is purely a business deal and has nothing to do with politics.
Spacecom’s two biggest customers are the Israeli government and local satellite TV operator Yes, though these contracts will end in the coming years as both clients move to different technologies.
The deal is all but wrapped up and had been approved by Spacecom’s general assembly in December 2021, but is on the brink of falling apart – particularly given the prior behaviour of communications minister Yoaz Hendel.