Hackmey Sells the Family Firm

This year's deal with a capital D is without doubt the sale of the Israel Phoenix Group. In return for $314 million, Joseph Hackmey and his sister Nitza parted with control of the company founded by their father 50 years ago. The new controling shareholder, Jacob Shahar, has made his fortune mainly on the import of Volvo and Honda cars.

In these crazy times, when the economy is shaky and the high-tech dream is not rosy any more, investors once again are favoring old-economy investments. While profit margins in the insurance industry may have fallen this year, mainly because holdings on the stock exchange have eroded, the sector represents incredible potential.

If they choose, insurance corporations can implement an aggressive policy and only select to insure secure businesses, charging astronomical premiums for less-safe bets.