Viola Acquires Online Diagnostic Firm

Viola Private Equity fund has snaps up controlling stake in International Medical Evaluation & Referral, whose technology diagnoses diseases for patients anywhere in the world online.

Already seeking a controlling stake in B. Gaon Holdings for NIS 70 million, the Viola Private Equity fund has snapped up a controlling stake in International Medical Evaluation & Referral for NIS 27 million.

A medical service firm, IMER has developed technology for diagnosing diseases for patients anywhere in the world online. Its service is used by people who believe their doctor is not correctly diagnosing a condition or simply seek a second opinion from top experts.

Founded in 2004, the company employs more than 50 people and is based at Hadassah University Hospital in Jerusalem, which is a partner in the venture.

The Viola equity fund was founded by Harel Beit-On, and its general partners include Canadian-born Jonathan Kolber, the former CEO of Koor Industries.

"We're talking about a company operating in a strong and rapidly growing market," said Kolber, who will be named IMER's chairman. "The company today enjoys an excellent management team that has developed a breakthrough service based on proprietary technology."

As a manager of the private equity fund Claridge Israel from 1986 to 1997, Kolber bought and sold stakes in Teva Pharmaceuticals, ECI Telecom and Osem before moving on to become CEO of Koor until it was sold to IDB in 2006.

With assets of $164 million, the Viola fund invests in both private and publicly traded businesses that it thinks have growth potential. It is part of Viola Group, which manages almost $2 billion in assets.

IMER is the 10th company the Viola fund has invested in since it was founded in 2008. Previous investments include Amiad Water Systems, Aeronautics Defense Systems, Orad Hi-Tec Systems and MobileAccess Networks, which was sold in March 2011.

A bid by Viola for as much as NIS 3.8 billion for holding company Clal Industries failed to entice Nochi Dankner's IDB Group, which later sold it to U.S. entrepreneur Len Blavatnik for NIS 2.55 billion.

News of the Viola Private Equity fund's interest in B. Gaon Holdings surfaced last week; the deal is expected to be completed in the coming weeks.

Moti Kimche