Antitrust Commissioner David Gilo is expected to object to a merger between Channel 2 franchisees Reshet and Keshet, if and when a request to effect such a merger is made, according to industry sources.
The sources said Gilo, who assumed his post in April, had made his feelings known to them on an unofficial basis.
No application for such a merger has been made to the Antitrust Authority, but the proposal is discussed from time to time. The idea of merging Reshet with Israel 10, the Channel 10 franchisee, has also been raised.
None of the companies would confirm there had been talk of a merger, and the Communications Ministry would not comment.
The Antitrust Authority said, "there has at this stage been no request for a merger of the franchisees, so of course there has been no decision on the matter."
Ever since the last Second Channel tender in 2005, Reshet and Keshet have been jointly operating Channel 2, dividing the week between them.
In January they are scheduled to switch days, so that Keshet would broadcast Sunday through Tuesday, and Reshet would take Wednesday through Saturday. The looming switch could provide an impetus to merge.
Unless the two franchisees merge, they may end up having to start broadcasting as two separate entities. Keshet is far more likely to survive having to broadcast seven days a week.
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