Only two parties submitted bids for the Ace Buy & Build chain: the Markstone fund and Gad Zeevi, whose financial troubles put the chain on the block in the first place.
Ace is up for sale as part of the liquidation of the Galaxo group, which was controlled by Gad Zeevi and is now in receivership. Zeevi fought against the receivership, but lost in court earlier this year. Once the matter was settled by Judge Danya Kareth Meyer, Galaxo's receiver put its stake in Zeevi Holdings - owner of the Ace and Auto Depot chains - up for sale.
The two bids were submitted to the offices of Galaxo's receiver, attorney Meir Lipa on Thursday. As far as is known, the Markstone fund offered $20 million for Zeevi's stake in the chain, valuing the company at $28 million.
The Ace chain was set up in 1993 and bought out by Zeevi's Galaxo group in 1999. Zeevi then entered a partnership with Shlomo Zabeida, after Zeevi bought the Auto Depot chain, which had been owned by Zabeida, from its creditors.
Auto Depot runs 12 outlets and Ace operates 25 branches. Ace reported net profits of NIS 9 million last year on growing sales of NIS 570 million. Its operating profits for 2004 soared 40 percent to NIS 13.5 million.
Zeevi and Zabeida though are now in a legal dispute over exactly how much of the Ace chain belongs to Zeevi and a further dispute centers on an additional 11 percent stake in Zeevi Holdings and over the rights to sell shares in Ace. According to an agreement between the two, Zabeida holds a veto over any sale of the DIY chain, even if the stake is in the hands of a receiver and currently up for sale.
The legal squabbles may have had their toll, explaining why although 10 companies originally expressed an interest in the Ace Buy & Build chain, only two submitted bids last week.
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