Watchdog Raises Doubts Over Israel Hayom's Purchase of Rival Newspaper

Antitrust Authority questions why Sheldon Adelson’s freebie won out over bid by rival publisher Eli Azur.

Nati Toker
Nati Tucker
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Sheldon Adelson.
Sheldon Adelson.Credit: AP
Nati Toker
Nati Tucker

The Antitrust Authority expressed concern yesterday about Israel Hayom’s purchase of rival newspaper Makor Rishon, according to sources attending the meeting between the two parties and the regulator.

The sources, who asked not to be named, called it a “difficult” meeting, with regulators saying the takeover raised “problems” because of Israel Hayom’s huge share of daily newspaper readership.

The meeting came 10 days after Israel Hayom, a freebie controlled by U.S. billionaire Sheldon Adelson, won a court-ordered auction of Makor Rishon, a right-of-center weekly newspaper – and a related website, NRG – for 17 million shekels ($4.9 million).

Eli Azur, the publisher of The Jerusalem Post, acquired a third publication, Maariv, which, like Makor Rishon and NRG, was controlled by Shlomo Ben-Tzvi.

Israel Hayom was read by 38.6% of Israelis in the second half of 2013, exceeding the 38.4% who read Yedioth Ahronoth – the traditional circulation leader, according to market research firm TGI. On Fridays, Yedioth has retained its No.1 position with 41.4% to Israel Hayom’s 33.7%, but adding in Makor Rishon’s 3.6% share would narrow the gap.

Antitrust officials asked to be provided with core data on the newspaper market, and sought explanations from the court-appointed trustee who oversaw the sale over why he opted to sell Makor Rishon to Adelson’s daily and not Azur, who also put in a bid.

“We are investing a lot of resources in examining this transaction and will not settle for anything less than a thorough investigation,” Antitrust Commissioner David Gilo told Army Radio. “It’s premature to assess it. We are gathering information and I will be wiser afterward.”

An ad for the free daily Israel Hayom boasts of 'fairness' and boasts it is 'straight to the point.'Credit: Daniel Tchetchik

Click the alert icon to follow topics:



Automatic approval of subscriber comments.
From $1 for the first month

Already signed up? LOG IN


Charles Lindbergh addressing an America First Committee rally on October 3, 1941.

Ken Burns’ Brilliant ‘The U.S. and the Holocaust’ Has Only One Problem

The projected rise in sea level on a beach in Haifa over the next 30 years.

Facing Rapid Rise in Sea Levels, Israel Could Lose Large Parts of Its Coastline by 2050

Tal Dilian.

As Israel Reins in Its Cyberarms Industry, an Ex-intel Officer Is Building a New Empire

Queen Elizabeth II, King Charles III and a British synagogue.

How the Queen’s Death Changes British Jewry’s Most Distinctive Prayer

Newly appointed Israeli ambassador to Chile, Gil Artzyeli, poses for a group picture alongside Rabbi Yonatan Szewkis, Chilean deputy Helia Molina and Gerardo Gorodischer, during a religious ceremony in a synagogue in Vina del Mar, Chile last week.

Chile Community Leaders 'Horrified' by Treatment of Israeli Envoy

Queen Elizabeth attends a ceremony at Windsor Castle, in June 2021.

Over 120 Countries, but Never Israel: Queen Elizabeth II's Unofficial Boycott