TechNation / Court Rejects Haredi Cellphone Content

Ministry asked court to bar the practice which effectively forces mobile subscribers to subsidize the religious content; incubator sponsors sought by gov’t; UK bingo firm buys social-gaming startup.

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The High Court of Justice rejected an appeal that banned cellphone companies from funding ultra-Orthodox organizations that provide content, such as Torah lessons or news in Yiddish, over the phone.

The Communications Ministry had asked the court to bar the practice, whereby mobile providers split the 6-agorot (2-cent) interconnection fee they get with the organization providing the content, saying it was unlawful. That was because it effectively forces subscribers of the mobile operators where the calls originated to subsidize the Haredi organizations.

Content calls have emerged into a major source of revenue for yeshivas, which have linked up with a small network provider to ensure that most of the calls originate in competing networks. (Amir Teig)

UK bingo firm buys social-gaming startup

Stride Gaming, a UK-based platform on online bingo, announced last week that it acquired the Israeli social-gaming startup InfiApps for as much as $39.2 million. Stride will initially pay $21.2 million in cash and may pay up to another $18 million over the next two years, depending on the level of earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization that InfiApps pays out. Buying InfiApp, which was founded in 2012, will give Stride access to the coal-gaming world, the company said. InfiApp’s flagship game, Slot Bonanza, a social casino with a variety of slot machines, counts more than 500,000 users worldwide and 5.2 million downloads, Stride said.  (TheMarker Staff)

New incubator sponsors sought by gov’t

The Office of the Chief Scientist at the Economy Ministry has launched a tender to license four new technology incubators in the Jerusalem and Tel Aviv areas.

The tender is the latest step in an overhaul of the government’s incubator program that got under way in 2011 whereby licenses get the right to operate the facilities for eight years instead of three, but must be able to invest a minimum of 50 million shekels ($13.3 million) in the incubator and its portfolio companies, and show expertise in the field the incubator is specializing in. Preference is being given to investor groups over individual bidders.  (TheMarker Staff)