Tech Briefs

Cellcom to Launch Television Service Next Week

Delegation from Chinese online retailer Alibaba visits Israel; Weizmann Institute investing NIS 201m in Nes Tziona science park

Cellcom

Cellcom Israel, the cellular service provider, will be launching its own multi-channel television service next Monday, going head-to-head with HOT’s cable service and the satellite television service offered by YES. Cellcom will compete on price, and appeal to consumers who have been paying for channels that they don’t watch. A basic service package through Cellcom is expected to cost about 100 shekels (about $26). Full details of Cellcom’s television product have not been disclosed, but based on material the company has provided to the media, much of the content will be made available on a pay-per-view basis. (Nati Tucker)

Delegation from Chinese online retailer Alibaba visits Israel

Representatives of Alibaba, the Chinese online retailer that launched the largest-ever initial public offering, were in Israel last week, meeting with executives from e-commerce, Internet and mobile startups, the Globes business daily has reported. Among the stops made by the visitors, whose company currently has a market cap of $262 billion, was a meeting at Visualead, which operates in the Chinese market, according to Globes. The Chinese delegation also reportedly met with Economy Minister Naftali Bennett, himself a former high-tech executive. “It is unclear whether the purpose of the meetings was to consider a future investment, or strategic cooperation with local companies,” Globes stated, adding: “Over the past year, more and more Asian Internet giants are discovering the Israeli startup scene. It began in February this year, when Japanese company Rakuten acquired calls application company Viber for $900 million.” (TheMarker)

Weizmann Institute investing NIS 201m in Nes Tziona science park

The Rehovot-based Weizmann Institute of Science, which has been a tenant at the Kiryat Weizmann science business park in adjoining Nes Tziona, is converting its lease into an ownership stake, acquiring a 40% stake in the office part for 201 million shekels ($51.4 million) from the Africa Israel Group. “In addition to the substantial cash flow that will be produced as a result of this transaction, and the opportunity to link up with a strategic partner in the science park such as the Weizmann Institute the transaction will regulate the [ownership] interests in the park without the prior limitation from the lease agreement,” noted Africa Israel Properties VP and CEO of AFI Europe, Avi Barzilay. “In this way, it will enable the continued development and improvement of the park,” he said. (Arik Mirovsky)