Leon Charney to Pay $144m for Half of Club Hotel Group

Nissan Khakshouri signed an agreement yesterday to sell his half of the Club Hotel group to American Leon Charney for $144 million.

Nissan Khakshouri signed an agreement yesterday to sell his half of the Club Hotel group to American Leon Charney for $144 million.

The Club Hotel group is one of the most successful private companies in Israel. It holds a 36 percent stake in the lucrative Loutraki Casino in Greece, as well as three Club Hotels in Israel - two in the Red Sea resort of Eilat and one in Tiberias.

The group also owns other commercial interests that are considered cash cows and real estate ventures, and it controls two publicly traded companies, Paz Chen and Zmiha Investment House. Khakshouri fell out with his partner in Club Hotel, Moshe Bublil, over a dispute that erupted in 2002 and has kept many a lawyer busy in the interim.

The sale agreement points out that Bublil holds a right of first refusal, as well as a right of participation. If Bublil exercises his right of first refusal - the right to match the terms of a proposed contract - then Charney will be entitled to 3 percent of the remuneration that Khakshouri would receive for his half.

In the agreement signed yesterday in Tel Aviv, Charney is granted 90 days to conduct due diligence on the company, and a further 90 days if he requests. Charney has submitted a nonrefundable deposit of $5 million drawn on UBS bank of New York.

Charney, who was in Israel for the past week for the Club Hotel agreement, deals primarily in real estate and banking investments in the U.S., and his fortune is estimated at around $1 billion. Charney, a lawyer, acted as adviser to U.S. President Jimmy Carter and also played a part in the Camp David talks before Israel and Egypt signed their peace agreement.