The Ticker / Amdocs Snaps Up Comverse Unit

Africa Industries unit suspects ex-CEO took money; Fortissimo Capital raises funds; stocks join world markets lower.

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Amdocs buys Comverse unit for $272 million
Amdocs, an Israeli provider of telecom billing technology and services, said late Wednesday it would buy a substantial majority of Comverse’s business-support-systems unit assets for $272 million in cash. Amdocs said the acquisition would expand and diversify its global customer base, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region, Latin America and the European cable and satellite market. “After we complete this transaction, Comverse will be a profitable company, with an exceptionally strong balance sheet,” Comverse CEO Philippe Tartavull said. The sale is expected to close in September. In New York, Amdocs shares were down nearly 1% in afternoon trade. (TheMarker)

Africa unit suspects that ex-CEO took money
Africa Industries said Thursday it found evidence suggesting that ex-CEOAvi Motola, who resigned in March, took some 2 million shekels ($520,000) from the company with the help of other top executives. Motola resigned days after Africa Industries reported a 66-million-shekel pretax loss for 2014. The probe, conducted by an outside consultant, also uncovered tens of millions of shekels of revenues Africa Industries’ Negev Ceramics unit that were reported incorrectly. Africa Industries will thus have to write down about 50 million shekels of shareholders’ equity and restate earnings. “The company is continuing with its investigation, including suspicions that additional sums were taken out as personal withdrawals,” Africa Industries said. (Eran Azran)

Fortissimo raises $470 million for fourth fund
Fortissimo Capital, one of Israel’s biggest private equity funds, said Thursday it had raised $470 million for a fourth fund that would specialize in technology and high-growth industrials. Fortissimo said investors in the Fortissimo IV fund included large institutional investors from the United States, Europe and Israel, including state and corporate pension funds, endowments, funds of funds, trusts and insurance companies. It did not provide names. Fortissimo, formed in 2004 by managing partner Yuval Cohen, manages nearly $1 billion through four funds and counts among its biggest exits initial public offerings in SodaStream International and Kornit Digital, as well as the sale of Nur Macroprinters to Hewlett Packard. (Michael Rochvarger)

Shares depressed by U.S. growth, Fed
The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange joined world stock markets lower Thursday, jolted by weak U.S. economic-growth data and cautious comments from the Federal Reserve. Both the TA-25 and TA-100 were off 0.2% by the close at 1,644.86 and 1,430.15 points, respectively. About 1.66 billion shekels ($430 million) in shares changed hands. Among big blue-chip losers, Bezeq slid 1.9% to end at 7.32 shekels, and TowerJazz lost 1.3% to 58.90. Its parent company, Kenon Holdings, said it would distribute Tower shares as a dividend. Strauss Group led TA-100 gainers, climbing 4.1% to 68.71, along with Frutarom with the same 4.1% rise to 164.50. In currency trading, the euro appreciated 1.3% to a Bank of Israel rate of 4.3175 shekels, while the dollar extended its trek lower, losing 0.3% to 3.8610. (Omri Zerachovitz)