Jared Kushner visited Israel about 10 days ago, planting a tree at a ceremony in Jerusalem and christening the Kushner Peace Garden alongside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. But planting that tree may not have been the real reason for the visit by U.S. President Donald Trump’s son-in-law.
Sources told TheMarker that Kushner has set his sights on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, with plans to import part of his family’s real estate portfolio. Kushner wants to found a new company and sell its bonds on the TASE at a valuation of $100 million.
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The Kushner family’s privately held real estate company is considered one of the leading companies in its field in the United States. It holds some $15 billion in commercial real estate. In 2019 the company, which employs some 1,000 workers, made transactions valued at an estimated $3 billion.
The company rents out some 23,000 homes in multi-family buildings primarily in the New York area and elsewhere along the East Coast.
The company also has some 500,000 square meters of office space, 200,000 square meters of commercial space and 200,000 square meters of industrial space.
It also has residential, office, commercial and hotel construction projects with more than one million square meters of space, as well as more than 1,000 hotel rooms, and loans to other construction companies around the country.
The Kushner family enterprise has business ties with Israeli institutional investors and is a customer of both Discount Bank and Bank Leumi’s New York subsidiaries. In 2014, Kushner had extended negotiations with Delek Group controlling shareholder Yitzhak Tshuva over buying a 52% controlling share in Phoenix Insurance, but ultimately a deal never came through.
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At the beginning of 2020, the Kushner group hired Yoni Ophir, a former senior VP at the Altschuler Shaham investment house, to lead the company’s Israeli operations.
The deals behind the planned Israeli offering are not yet known; it’s not clear what the company plans to offer as collateral, or whether the Kushner company intends to transfer all its assets to Israel or just repackage a few under a separate Israeli subsidiary. Should the plan go through, the bond sale would happen in March or April.
Raising money on the TASE would be a challenging task for the Kushner family. Over the past few years, Israeli investors welcomed with open arms American real estate companies with Jewish-American owners, granting them credit at low interest rates and without collateral.
These businesses raised some 25-30 billion shekels in Israel. And yet, this trend has entirely reversed course after some of the companies ran into a credit squeeze or failed to be transparent in their reporting.
Over the past few years, several of these American companies were forced into debt settlements. This includes the mall giant Starwood, which raised 900 million shekels in early 2019 but wound up in bankruptcy in Israel while generating massive losses for the investors who bought its bonds.
Likewise, All Year, owned by Joel Goldman, a member of the Brooklyn Satmar community, is heading toward a debt settlement. All Year owns bondholders in Israel at a value of some 2.3 billion shekels.
The Kushner group responded that it is considering a bond sale in Tel Aviv.