Israeli Regulator Stalls Tel Aviv Stock Exchange Sale

Israeli Regulator Stalls Tel Aviv Stock Exchange Sale

In a letter to Tel Aviv Stock Exchange CEO Ittai Ben-Zeev, regulator Anat Guetta said she requires more time before she can approve the sale of the exchange to Australian firm Manikay

Racheli Bindman and Dror Reich  18:12  13.06.18
In a letter to Tel Aviv Stock Exchange CEO Ittai Ben-Zeev, regulator Anat Guetta said she requires more time before she can approve the sale of the exchange to Australian firm Manikay Partners LLC and additional buyers.

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In April, the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange board of directors approved the sale of a 71.7% stake in the exchange. As part of the deal, Manikay is set to acquire a 20% stake, while a group of five international investors will acquire 51.8%. Of the stake acquired by the unnamed investors, 30% will be eventually offered in direct placement to the public.

Ittai Ben-Zeev. Photo: Amit Sha Ittai Ben-Zeev. Photo: Amit Sha'al Ittai Ben-Zeev. Photo: Amit Sha

The sale was the initiative of Mr. Ben-Zeev, following a 2017 amendment of Israel’s securities law that forbids members of the exchange to own a stake larger than 5%.

In her letter, Ms. Guetta said she will examine and individually approve each of the additional buyers involved in the deal before it is put forward. In response, Mr. Ben-Zeev has filed for an extension on the deal from participating banks and investment firms through the end of August.

In a statement, the Israel securities authority said that it will continue to promote the structural change to the exchange and that the examination of the buyers must be thorough.

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Speaking on Wednesday at Calcalist’s capital markets conference in Tel Aviv, Mr. Ben-Zeev said that the deal will be completed by the end of the year.

Last month, in a letter reviewed by Calcalist, Mr. Ben-Zeev said that the sale of the exchange is facing opposition from Israel’s Bank Hapoalim.
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