Telecom giant Orange reaches deal that could spell split with Israeli subsidiary

Orange CEO Stephane Richard. Credit:

( The French telecommunications giant Orange has reached a deal with its Israeli subsidiary that could spell a split between the two entities. 

The deal comes in the wake of Orange CEO Stephane Richard’s comments last month that he wanted to cut business ties with Orange's Israeli affiliate, Partner Communications, in response to pressure from anti-Israel activists in France and Egypt.

Richard later apologized for expressing the intent to end operations in Israel and said Orange would remain an investor in the Jewish state.

But in the latest twist, Orange said Tuesday that it has reached a deal with Partner that could end the two parties' current agreement on providing cell phone service in Israel. According to the deal's reported terms, Orange would pay Partner as much as $100 million if the agreement is ended within the next two years. An Orange spokesman has so far denied that the company is actually pulling out of Israel, and said Orange is simply rethinking its brand agreement with Partner, the Associated Press reported.

Posted on July 1, 2015 .