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Ofer Nimrodi, the controlling shareholder of the Israel Land Development Corporation (ILDC), which owns the daily newspaper Maariv, signed an agreement on Thursday to buy the 20% of the company owned by Ilan Ben Dov.

The deal represents a complete reversal of Nimrodi's repeated attempts over the last year to sell either Maariv or ILDC.
 
Ben Dov, who holds the shares through Tao Tsuot, will receive NIS 142 million, which is the sum he would have received if a planned deal with Arcadi Gaydamak had gone through.

The transaction was signed Thursday night, after Gaydamak pulled out of his negotiations with Nimrodi. It values ILDC at $172 million. The company's shares rose 30% in December.

ILDC stock

The shares will be split evenly between Ofer and his father, Yaakov Nimrodi.

There are four stages to the deal, each one involving a quarter of the shares and a quarter of the money. The first payment will be on January 2, with two more due in February.

The fourth payment is optional, and Nimrodi could choose to leave Tao holding 5 percent of ILDC.

The Nimrodis will put up 70 percent of the money from their own funds, with the remainder coming from bank loans.

Further steps could include equalizing the various types of ILDC shares. This would allow ILDC to raise capital through a share issue, rather than merely through bonds, without the Nimrodis losing control of the firm.

"We very much believe in the company and its many assets - its real estate operations and its projects in Eastern Europe, its residential construction and logistic parks, and our projects in Canada and Israel," said Ofer Nimrodi.

For Ben Dov, the deal is considered excellent: Tao will make a NIS 70 million profit on it.