Dankner-Granovsky Group Recruits Another Partner for IDB

Neto Group, whose holding include TibonVeal, will deposit NIS 134.5 million.

Nochi Dankner and Alexander Granovsky have recruited another partner to join them in their bid for control of the IDB group, a day before a court-imposed deadline for final proposals.

The Neto Group, which is controlled by the Ezra family and whose holdings include Tibon Veal and the food imports Williger, said on Sunday it would deposit NIS 134.5 million into an escrows account required by the court overseeing IDB's affairs.

"Our joining is an opportunity to invest one of the most important business in the Israeli economy," said Adi Ezra, Neto Group's chairman. "Over the years Neto has accumulated significant cash and enjoys a wide capital base. The company's board see investing in IDB as an excellent way to utilize some of these resources."

Neto joins Dankner; Granovsky, an Ukrainian businessman who has pledged to inject some NIS 450 million into IDB through his investment vehicle Emblaze; the Netz Group, which is committed to put in NIS 61 million; and the Noiman family, which joined the group last week.

Shares of Neto fell 0.9% in Tel Aviv Stock Exchange trading to NIS 185.20 on Sunday. IDB Holding Corporation, the company that sits at the apex of the IDB pyramid, jumped 8.3% to NIS 5.50.

With Neto Group's joining, the group is now pledged to depositing a total of NIS 585.5 million. In addition, Nochi Dankner's father, Yitzhak, has an option of putting in another NIS 148 million.

Nochi Dankner is battling to retain control over IDB group, which is saddled with some NIS 8 billion in debt.

Two other bids have been made one by the Argentinian businessman Eduardo Elsztain in alliance with bondholders of IDB Holding, and another by Motti Ben-Moshe's Xtra Holding. All three offer bondholders a mix of debt-for-equity swaps and an infusion of new cash to keep IDB afloat.

Dankner's strategy is not only to convince IDB Group bondholders that he can produce the most generous offer for IDB, but that he offers the most real cash, deposited in advance by his group's members. Eyal Gabbai, a court-appointed expert monitoring IDB's affairs, is supposed to offer his opinion which of the proposals represents the best value for bondholders.

Judge Eitan Orenstein on Sunday turned down a petition filed last week by trustees representing IDB bondholders seeking to give the three groups five more days to improve their proposals. The three groups now have until 4 P.M. local time tomorrow to make any adjustments to their proposals.

Olivier Fitoussi