Sale of U.S. Billionaire's Stake in Ch. 10 to Israeli Ad Mogul Hits Snag

Ronald Lauder and Yafit Greenberg at odds over who will assume some NIS 20m in bills for shows being filmed now.

The sale of American billionaire Ronald Lauder’s stake in Channel 10 television to Israeli advertising mogul Yafit Greenberg appears to be in jeopardy over who will foot the bill for programming being prepared for the 2014 season.

Greenberg and her husband, who are still in New York after they signed an agreement with Lauder on Sunday, were due to meet with him Wednesday in an effort to save what was supposedly a done deal. Channel 10 CEO Rafi Ginat was due to join them in a bid to close the deal.

Greenberg signed a deal to purchase Lauder’s stake in the Israeli channel for a symbolic one dollar on Sunday, as well as assume the broadcaster’s NIS 100 million debt, including a NIS 57 million state loan granted in 2012. The dispute centers of whether Lauder will cover the payments due to independent producers for shows filmed while he was still a shareholder in the company or whether Greenberg and any future partners must pay for them.

The broadcaster owes at least NIS 20 million to suppliers, primarily production companies, for television shows in the advanced stages of production scheduled to be aired in 2014.

A representative for Greenberg confirmed that there were sharp differences between the two sides, but at this stage both sides were optimistic they could be resolved. No comment was provided by Lauder’s representatives.

Greenberg’s company G. Yafit Communications with its partner, Ofra Meitar, the wife of Israeli businessman Shmuel Meitar, is buying Lauder’s 30% stake in the broadcaster. A perennial laggard to Channel 2, the broadcaster is counting on the 2014 season to boost its ratings and advertising revenue.

Eyal Toueg