The two finalists bidding for Globes, the business newspaper that had been controlled by the financially troubled business tycoon Eliezer Fishman, are Eli Azur, who owns The Jerusalem Post and Maariv dailies, and Russian oligarch David Davidovich. Azur submitted a bid of 34 million shekels ($8.9 million), while Davidovich’s bid was close behind at 33 million shekels.
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Although there had been expectations in recent weeks that Israel Hayom – the daily owned by American Jewish casino magnate Sheldon Adelson – and others might bid for Fishman’s stake, in the end Azur and Davidovich submitted the only two bids by a court-imposed deadline.
Bank Leumi has held a lien on the shares of Monitin, the corporate entity owning Globes, and through which Fishman controlled the paper. With Globes now in receivership, as a technical matter, the bidding was for Fishman’s shares in the business. The winner will receive Globes and the paper’s printing plant, but not Monitin itself or any other business operations.
Davidovich is a close associate of billionaire Roman Abramovich, a fellow Russian oligarch who is the owner of the English soccer team Chelsea, among many other holdings. In fact Davidovich himself is thought to be a billionaire, with an estimated net worth of a billion euros, or just over a billion dollars. Davidovich recently also considered investing in an Israeli television station by way of a transaction in which Nir Hefetz, the spokesman for the family of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, was also involved. Hefetz said his involvement was limited to assessing the value of the media outlet.
Azur, the second bidder, appears to be interested in integrating Globes into his other newspaper holdings, Maariv and The Jerusalem Post. With the small difference between the two bids, the final decision on the paper’s new owner will apparently also consider input from Globes’ workers’ committee. Globes’ receiver declined comment.
On Tuesday, Globes CEO Eitan Madmon submitted his resignation, effective in three months. He had previously said he would step down when the newspaper is sold. Madmon, who has been in his position for the past 11 years, sent an email to the newspaper’s staff saying that with the change in ownership, this was a logical time for him to “pursue new challenges.” He also expressed the wish that the transition would be rapid and that the new owners would be “fitting.”