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Michael Strauss, the controlling shareholder of the Strauss-Elite group, may become more involved in Gibor Sport as well.

Gibor Sport Holdings - which is the controlling shareholder in Gibor Real Estate, Yarden Investments (which owns 24 percent of the Israel Land Development Corporation), sock manufacturer Gibor Alfa and EMS - yesterday announced an agreement to buy DCL Technologies shares from Strauss and sister Raya Ben-Dror. In exchange, the Strausses will receive bonds from Gibor Real Estate. Market players view the deal as a sign Strauss may be eyeing an increased stake in Gibor Sport.

Since Strauss and Ben-Dror already hold 25 percent of Sagiel Investment, a major Gibor shareholder, they are not new investors in Gibor.

As part of the deal, businessman Amnon Barzani will also be involved in a Gibor allocation. The agreement replaces Gibor controlling shareholders Roy Gill and Eitan Eldar's plan for Barzani to take over Gibor's Yarden Investments.

Gibor's spokesman refused to comment on the report.

The Strausses are selling Gibor Sport 9.5 percent of DCL's share capital, for NIS 9.9 million. The price is a premium of 334 percent above their Tel Aviv Stock Exchange value.

Gibor Real Estate will be using the proceeds from the Strausses to repay shareholders' loans. As the main shareholder in question is Gibor Sport, no cash is expected to change hands.

Gibor Real Estate will give the Strausses and Barzani 9.9 million ordinary bonds redeemable in three years.

Although Strauss is simply increasing an existing stake in Gibor, the move is a change for Barzani, who until now was slated only to hold Yarden. Gill and Eldar agreed to sell Barzani 35 percent of the subsidiary for $10 million in August 2002. They also granted him an option on their remaining 35 percent, also for $10 million.

Yarden has so far only lost money on its investment in ILDC, the controlling shareholder in Hebrew-language daily Ma'ariv, and it stands to lose even more, as it currently books the stake at a NIS 202 million value, while its market capitalization is only NIS 80 million. ILDC's market cap is what torpedoed the earlier Yarden deal, as banks would not lend Barzani money for the deal without "better" collateral than the Yarden shares.

Gibor Real Estate reported NIS 12 million in revenues for the third quarter of 2002 and a net loss of NIS 3.5 million.