Business in Brief

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Chinese delay closing Clal Insurance purchase

The uncertainty continues over the sale of a 32% controlling interest in Clal Insurance by the IDB group to a group of Chinese investors headed by Li Haifeng. IDB Development Corporation reported on Monday that the investors have requested a 30-day extension in order to complete the regulatory process and receive the approval of the Finance Ministry’s commissioner of capital markets, insurance and savings for the acquisition. For now, the closing has been postponed until March 3, but the buyers have an option for two additional 30-day postponements. The 1.4 bilion-shekel ($400 milion) sale, which is critical for shoring up IDB’s finances, values all of Clal at 4.6 billion shekels. The Chinese have an option to buy another 23% at a similar valuation. (Michael Rochvarger and Assa Sasson)

TowerJazz partners with Korean firm on wireless power transfer

Israeli specialty chip manufacturer TowerJazz will collaborate with South Korean startup MAPS to manufacture the first wireless-power recharging chip for mobile products, a breakthrough technology, the companies said in a statement on Monday. TowerJazz shares climbed 1.9% in Tel Aviv after the news. MAPS expects mass production to begin in the second quarter, targeting the mobile, portable and computing market in South Korea and worldwide. Pike Research estimates global revenue from wireless power devices could exceed $15 billion by 2020, with systems based on highly resonant wireless power transfer accounting for 80% of the market. Although inductive wireless power transfer was already introduced by others, the resonant type that MAPS has developed using TowerJazz’s process offers wireless power-charging at greater distances.
(Shelly Appelberg and Reuters)

Proxy advisers back Given Imaging sale

The two largest American proxy advisory services, ISS and Glass Lewis, are both recommending to shareholders of Given Imaging to approve the sale of the company to Covidien for $30 per share, or a total of some $860 million. The shareholder vote on the sale will be held on January 23, with a minimum of 75% of shareholders participating in the vote, to approve the deal before it can go through. The sale also allows early vesting of options and the freeing of blocked shares, which ISS says places the company’s senior management and board in a conflict of interest. (Yoram Gabison)

Ben-Moshe, Elsztain move NIS 965m to IDB

The transfer of control of IDB Development Corporation to the investors group led by Eduardo Elsztain and Moti Ben-Moshe is proceeding smoothly, with the two depositing 965 million shekels ($276 million) in a trusteeship account in Bank Hapoalim, Tel Aviv District Court Judge Eitan Orenstein was informed on Monday. The deposit exceeds what they had committed to invest in IDB Development, under the timetable set by the court as part of the IDB bailout, the trustees told the judge. “A week after the court decision to transfer of control of IDB group, I can say with the necessary caution that no shock has occurred in the ongoing management of the group that could endanger its assets,” Eyal Gabbai and Hagai Olman, who have been assigned to oversee IDB’s bailout, said in a report.  (Shelly Appelberg)

TA-25 rises sharply as dollar slumps

Bank and biotechnology shares led the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange higher on Monday, but the dollar slumped 0.26% to a Bank of Israel rate to 3.4880. The euro strengthened 0.2% to 4.7674 shekels. The TASE’s benchmark TA-25 index rose close to 1% to a 1,343.62-point finish while the broader TA-100 added 0.8% to 1,236.14. Turnover was 1.38 billion shekels. Space Communications, the operator of the Amos satellites, jumped 9.4% amid rumors that it had received an offer to be acquired. Africa Israel Investments added 2.7% to bring it gains over the past nine trading days to some 30%. Biotech shares were paced by gains of 6.3% for Can-Fite and 4.1%for Opko Health. Bank Hapoalim led bank shares higher on a 1.5% rise. Teva Pharmaceuticals was the most active shares of the day, rising 0.6% to 146.20 shekels on turnover of 68 milion shekels. (Shelly Appelberg) 

TowerJazz chip-fabrication plant. Credit: TowerJazz