Bezeq, Israel’s biggest telecoms company, appeared Monday to be moving closer to coming under the control of Keidan Dahari and Yaron Adiv, partners in the real estate company Tnuport.
The mechanism by which they may emerge as Bezeq’s owners is a planned share offering by Internet Gold, Bezeq’s single biggest shareholder through its B Communications subsidiary. The terms of the offering could dilute Internet Gold’s creditor banks’ 55% stake in the company to as little as 35% and enable another investor to hold as much as 36%.
Led by Bank Hapoalim, Internet Gold’s bank shareholders adopted a two-stage plan late Monday. Under it, they would buy into the offering proportionate to their existing stake in order to ensure their shares aren’t diluted.
But they agreed to step aside if Dahari and Adiv can buy at least 45 million shekels of the offering. If the pair can come up with the cash, the banks will regard it as a down payment on their buying control of Internet Gold.
The offering was supposed to take place Tuesday, but in light of Monday night’s developments Internet Gold is expected to delay it for several days. The other banks involved in the deal are Israel Discount Bank and First International Bank of Israel.
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Dajari and Adiv had already expressed interest in gaining control of Internet Gold — controlled by Shaul Elovitch until he was forced out by crushing debt and probes into his actions at Bezeq. The banks bought their Internet Gold stake after efforts to sell Elovitch’s indebted Eurocom group failed.
Internet Gold desperately needs a cash injection because the value of its B Com and Bezeq shares have fallen so much in the year since the investigations began against Elovitch and a group of Bezeq group executives.
The offering is for 4 million new Internet Gold shares at 8.30 shekels ($2.33) each and 6.8 million warrants convertible into shares at 11 shekels.